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Hurricane Warning Evacuation Information

What is a hurricane warning

A hurricane warning means that hurricane conditions, including destructive sustained winds of 74 mph or greater and torrential rain, are expected to affect the specified area within 24 hours.

Remember, most of New England's tropical storms and hurricanes accelerate as they approach, dramatically reducing your time to prepare. Never base your actions on the estimated time of landfall, for hazardous weather will often arrive as early as 6 hours prior to the time the eye of the storm makes landfall.

Respect the power of the hurricane! Act now to protect your life and property! Your National Weather Service urges you to follow these safety tips:

The Evacuation Question: To Stay or Leave

Anyone living in an area subject to flooding, either coastal from the storm surge or inland from heavy rainfall, should strongly consider evacuation. If your home may not withstand the expected winds, particularly mobile or modular homes, you should consider evacuation as well.

If local officials recommend that you evacuate, do so immediately. Try to use the routes local officials recommend. These routes will often be patrolled more frequently, meaning help will reach you sooner if you get into trouble.

Evacuation does not necessarily mean fleeing hundreds of miles. The shortest distance you can travel to leave an area which will be flooded, or isolated due to flooding, to reach a building which can withstand the expected winds is ideal. Think: "Run from the water, and hide from the wind."

Before you leave your home

  • Make sure that all family members not at home know where you will be staying. It is best to establish a contact outside the area being impacted by the hurricane. This person can then relay your location and condition to your family should communications be lost.
  • Move valuable items to higher points within your home, or have a close friend or relative inland store them for you.
  • Turn off all gas, water and electrical services at the main switch or valve in your home or business if possible. This will prevent additional damage to your property due to surges or leaks.
  • Unplug all electrical items. This can be skipped by simply turning off electrical service at the main breaker panel.
  • Lock all windows and doors and wedge sliding glass doors to prevent them from lifting out of their tracks.
  • If you have not done so already, move all outdoor items including: furniture, plants, and trash cans, indoors.
  • Pack enough clothes for all family members heading to the storm shelter.
  • Bring along the important papers including: insurance policies, inventory lists, and medical information.
  • All outside preparations should be completed before this onset of tropical storm/gale force winds (39 mph/34 kt).

Travel Tips

  • Do not drive farther than necessary.
  • Take familiar routes: Especially if you must travel at night.
  • Make sure you have a full tank of fuel before leaving.
  • Take as few vehicles as possible. The fewer cars on the road, the better traffic will flow and the quicker everyone can reach their intended destination safely. Try to avoid towing large trailers.
  • Try to complete your travel before the onset of tropical storm/gale force winds and heavy rain. New England Hurricanes are often preceded by a false period of calm before conditions deteriorate rapidly. Do not be fooled.

Items To Consider Taking To A Shelter

  • Take along blankets, sleeping bags, pillows and towels.
  • Take along any necessary medications as well as personal hygiene items including: soap, a toothbrush and toothpaste.
  • Remember that alcoholic beverages, and weapons are not allowed at evacuation shelters.
  • Remember not all shelters accept pets. If the shelter you will be using does, be sure to bring supplies for your pet including: a crate or carrier, food, toys to keep them occupied and medical records. Your towns requirements may vary, so be sure to find out exactly what you will need well ahead of time.

Following these actions will make this very stressful and difficult time go a bit more smoothly.


Learn more about Hurricane Preparedness from the National Hurricane Center.

April to May of each year is the best time to take action to protect your family and property.


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Page last modified: December 5, 2005

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