Hurricane Warning - Inland Wind and River Safety
What is a hurricane warning?
A hurricane warning means that hurricane conditions, including destructive
sustained winds of 74 mph or greater and dangerously high tides, are
expected to affect the specified area within 24 hours.
When a hurricane warning is issued, inland residents must be ready to act
swiftly to protect their property and reduce personal risk.
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
Respect the power of the hurricane! Act now to protect your life and
property! Your National Weather Service urges you to follow these safety
The Evacuation Question: To Stay or Leave
Inland residents may not need to evacuate if you are not in a flood-prone
area. While not subject to the impact of the storm surge, heavy rainfall
could lead to flooding of area waterways or urban areas. Those who might
become isolated due to flooded roads should also seriously consider
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
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."
- Know the quickest route to the nearest storm shelter.
- If you live in a mobile or modular home, leave as soon as you can.
- Realize that you will not be the only one heading inland and
allow extra time for travel.
- Be sure to have pictures or at the very least, serial numbers and a
description of items in your house for insurance purposes. Take your
copy of the policy with you.
Preparing Your Home
- Boarding up windows is a necessity for homes exposed to high winds.
Have nails and boards on hand for this purpose.
- Do not tape up windows! This only causes flying glass to stay in
large chunks, which may do more harm than good. Tape will not prevent
your windows from breaking in the stronger winds of a hurricane!
- Close drapes across windows to minimize flying glass.
- Bring in or secure all loose outdoor objects to prevent them from
- Brace garage doors and avoid opening any door on the windward side of
- Obtain bottled water or fill a cleaned bathtub. Local water supplies
often become contaminated after hurricanes. Wells should be tested
for contamination before using them after a hurricane or tropical
storm. You should have enough water to supply each person in your
family with one gallon of water per day for sanitation and drinking
for at least 3 days.
- If time permits, you may want to move electronics equipment away from
windows in case they are blown in and water enters the room.
Power Failure Tips
- Have plenty of batteries on hand for flash lights, AM/FM radios, and
your NOAA weather radio.
- Do not use candles. Many people have been injured or killed during
and after hurricanes from fires started by candles.
- Have non-perishable food that does not need refrigeration or much
cooking on hand. Keep a manual can opener for use with canned foods.
It is almost a certainty that electrical and phone power will be
disrupted after a hurricane. Again have enough food to get through
at least 3 days.
- If you have a portable generator: Be sure it is properly connected
to the main power supply. If it is not, it may do damage to the main
power supply of your home.
- Unplug all non-essential electrical items. Today's electronics can be
susceptible to damage during power failures and power surges once
service is restored.
- If power is lost, turn off any gas service immediately. Fires can be
started by gas leaks when electrical service is restored.
The Freshwater Flood Threat
- If you live near a river or stream that is susceptible to flooding,
keep updated on its status and be ready to head for another storm
shelter on higher ground should a flood or flash flood warning be
- If the flood threat is unusually high, leave now. Do not wait until
the hurricane arrives. While flooding may not be occurring in your
immediate vicinity, heavy rainfall may flood your evacuation route
sooner. You do not want to have to evacuate to higher ground during
the height of the hurricane.
- Evaluate your insurance coverage. Unlike standard insurance, flood
insurance covers structural property loss due to flooding. For
additional information, go to
- Avoid driving into water of unknown depth. Moving water could quickly
sweep your vehicle off the road.
- Restrict children from playing near moving water, drainage areas or
other flooded areas. Moving water can quickly pull them under. In
addition, the water may harbor contaminants such as oil and sewage.
- Stay well away from downed power lines. They may be live and water is
an excellent conductor of electricity. In addition, do not enter
flood waters where appliances are even partially submerged. This
poses an electrocution hazard.
- Do not use fresh food which has come in contact with flood waters.
Wash canned goods with soap and hot water before opening.
- To prevent flood waters from backing up into drains in your home,
install or ensure that you have check valves.
If you follow these actions, you will be prepared for the storm. Think
before you act. Avoid taking any unnecessary risks and make a concerted
effort to stay calm.
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.