Here’s guidance from the National Weather Service1, Federal Emergency Management Agency2 and the Center for Disease Control and Prevention3 to help you in case of hurricanes in your area.
Know your area’s risk. Many states or jurisdictions divide localities into zones. Ordered evacuations are listed according to the risks in these zones. Know which zone you live in, evacuation routes from your zone and shelter locations within your zone. You can check this on your state’s emergency management page.
- Make a plan. Create a plan that includes the steps your family will take in response to a hurricane. This can include shelters, evacuation routes, communication plans and preparedness kits. In areas where hurricanes are common, shelters are pre-established. Learn where they are and how you can get to them.
Recognize warnings and alerts for hurricanes. It is important in all disasters that you recognize your community’s warning system. This is how you will get important notices about evacuations.
Storm Surge Warning: There is a danger of life-threatening inundation from rising water moving inland from the shoreline somewhere within the specified area, generally within 36 hours. If you are under a storm surge warning, check for evacuation orders from your local officials.
Hurricane Warning: Hurricane conditions (sustained winds of 74 mph or greater) are expected somewhere within the specified area. NHC issues a hurricane warning 36 hours in advance of tropical storm-force winds to give you time to complete your preparations. Evacuate immediately if so ordered.
Tropical Storm Warning: Tropical storm conditions (sustained winds of 39 to 73 mph) are expected within your area within 36 hours.
Extreme Wind Warning: Extreme sustained winds of a major hurricane (115 mph or greater), usually associated with the eyewall, are expected to begin within an hour. Take immediate shelter in the interior portion of a well-built structure.
Storm Surge Watch: There is a possibility of life-threatening inundation from rising water moving inland from the shoreline somewhere within the specified area, generally within 48 hours.
Hurricane Watch: Hurricane conditions (sustained winds of 74 mph or greater) are possible within your area. Because it may not be safe to prepare for a hurricane once winds reach tropical storm force, the NHC issues hurricane watches 48 hours before it anticipates tropical storm-force winds.
Tropical Storm Watch: Tropical storm conditions (sustained winds of 39 to 73 mph) are possible in the specified area within 48 hours.
- Build a kit. Make sure you have a kit with essential supplies specific for hurricanes. These can include an emergency food and water supply, medicine supply, and emergency power sources such as flashlights and extra batteries.
- Prepare your home.
- Make sure you don’t have anything outside that could blow around and damage your home. Move lawn furniture, grills and other outdoor items into or under a shelter.
- Consider storm shutters for windows and doors.
- Fill clean water containers.
Hurricane Season dates
Atlantic hurricane season: June 1–November 30.
Eastern North Pacific hurricane season: May 15–November 30.
Central North Pacific hurricane season: June 1–November 30.
Staffir Simpson Wind Scale⁴
Category 1: 74–95 mph winds
Category 2: 96–110 mph winds
Category 3: 111–129 mph winds
Category 4: 130–156 mph winds
Category 5: 157+ mph winds
- “National Weather Service safety tips,” last accessed April 19, 2021, opens new window
- “Disaster information,” last accessed April 19, 2021, , opens new window
- “Natural disasters and severe weather,” last accessed April 19, 2021, , opens new window
- “Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale,” last accessed April 22, 2021, , opens new window