When it comes to natural disasters, sure, we have them here in Virginia. We’ve been knocked around by hurricanes and hit by tornadoes – we’ve even had a west coast-worthy earthquake. Fortunately, these things are fewer and farther between than a lot of other places. And overall, we have it pretty good.
But, you know the saying, nothing worth having is without some risk. With that being said, there are still a few things that you’ll have to look out for living in Virginia. At the end of the day, I think you’ll agree — living here is absolutely worth any risk involved!
1. Heavy foot? Expect a heavy fine.
Virginia ranks in the top 10 places where you’re most likely to get a ticket and the top 2 for most expensive tickets. We have a maximum $2,500 fine here…ouch. And, radar detectors? Definitely illegal.
2. Ticks. Ticks. Ticks. They’re everywhere.
These nasty little buggies are small, but carry some big dangers. In Virginia, the Lone Star Tick, dog tick and blacklegged tick (a.k.a., deer tick), are the ones to watch out for. Not only do they leave nasty bites behind, they can transmit some pretty scary infections, including the most common, Lyme’s disease, which is transmitted by the blacklegged tick. Be sure to check yourself and your pets after hiking, walking through tall grass or spending any extended outdoor time in popular tick hangouts. The sooner you catch them, the safer you are!
3. Floods happen.
Hopefully, you live in a place that doesn’t get flooded, but with so many mountain valleys, rivers that rise and marshy flatlands…floods do happen. We’ve had some doozies over the years – sometimes from hurricanes thanks to our East Coast location and sometimes from too much melted snow in the mountains.
4. And potholes. Yeah, lots of potholes.
Ok, usually they are not THIS bad, but thanks to floods and snow, our roads aren’t always top condition. But have no fear…
5. Road construction is always, and I mean always, ongoing.
You might have to weave through some cones…ok, you WILL have to weave through some cones…but, at least the Department of Transportation is trying!
6. Politics. Discuss at your own risk.
Although Virginia, like many southern states, has a reputation for being conservative, we’re actually fairly evenly divided when it comes to party lines. And given our history (we do have the longest continuously operating General Assembly in the Western Hemisphere, after all), we are passionate about politics. Expect conversations to be long – and sometimes heated.
7. Planning around Spring weather.
I’m the first to say that there’s nothing more beautiful than Spring in Virginia. But, you just never know what it’s going to hand you – from beautiful sunny days to snow flurries. Spring is fickle and so unless you want to camp under an umbrella or your wedding dress comes with a detachable winter cape – you might just want to pick another season. There’s a reason people wait until June after all.
8. Oh deer…
I hate to say it, but Virginia ranks in the top 10 places most likely to have an accident involving deer. And that’s no fun for Bambi or for you. Most of these accidents happen between October and December, which is breeding season. And like all young kids in love, deer don’t always pay attention to their surroundings so it’s up to you to watch the roads, keep your lights on and pay attention to deer crossing signs.
9. Snakes…they can be tricky.
I get the creeps just writing about this one…but it’s good stuff to know. Virginia has three venomous species, Eastern Cottonmouths, Northern Copperheads and Timber Rattlesnakes. There are loads more that are harmless, but as for the bitey-ones, be careful. Cottonmouths, like the one above, are water snakes and can be aggressive. Their non-venomous look-a-like is the Northern Water Snake, so FYI, cottonmouths are more likely to swim on the water’s surface and have a white inner mouth, should you care to check. But all of our water snakes can swim completely submerged and it can be easy to get them confused. (Good luck going in a river ever again.)
Copperheads, like this handsome fellow, also have doppelgangers in certain rat snakes, black racers, corn snakes and a few others. A handy thing to know about all of our venomous snakes is that they are pit vipers, so they have diamond-shaped heads – that is if you’re willing to get close enough to look.
Hopefully, Timber Rattlesnakes will give themselves away with some noise, but you don’t want to sneak up on one, all the same. If you spend a lot of time outdoors, it’s worth it to know your snakes, even in the suburbs. Just saying.
10. The grocery store before a snowstorm.
Weatherman predicts a snow flurry? Virginians stock up for a blizzard – just a warning. Considering the alternatives, Virginia is pretty lucky when it comes to snow. But we like to be prepared! Expect the stores to be crowded in anticipation. And should we get a few heavy snowfalls, you might just find some empty shelves when delivery trucks are delayed.
11. Keep your swim buddy with you.
Remember when you were a kid at summer camp and you couldn’t go in the lake without a “swim buddy”? Turns out, it’s a good idea. With so many rivers, lakes and the amazing Atlantic Ocean at our disposal, there’s no shortage of swimming, but currents and tides can be dangerous. Check local water levels and conditions before you go and always look before you leap!
12. Ice…just because you can’t see it, doesn’t mean it isn’t there.
At least with snow, you know where it is. But when it comes to ice, all bets are off. Because sometimes temperatures will warm up in the day and drop back down at night, roads can get icy when melted snow refreezes. Keep your walks salted and be careful when the winter weather hits.
These things are definitely worth watching out for, but I don’t mind using a little caution when Virginia has so many incredible things to offer. What’s the riskiest thing about living in Virginia for you? Let us know in the comments below!