General Hurricane Watch Safety
A hurricane watch is issued when hurricane conditions are possible in the
designated watch area within 36 hours. It is essential that you keep
informed about the progress of the hurricane and take the necessary
preparedness actions to minimize property losses and 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
You should have a hurricane tracking chart handy. Many local radio or
television stations broadcast this information. Your local NOAA All-
Hazards weather radio station will always broadcast the latest positions as
a hurricane approaches, along with a variety of storm-related information.
It is your best source of weather information, at your fingertips, 24 hours
When a hurricane threatens, your National Weather Service urges you to
follow these preparedness rules:
Anyone living in an area subject to flooding, either coastal from the storm
surge or inland from heavy rainfall, should 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
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."
- Make arrangements now for the relocation of pets should you have to
evacuate. Many shelters do not allow pets.
- Have your car fully fueled and ready to go should you be asked to
leave your home.
- Be certain of the route you will take to the location or shelter you
will use to escape the hurricane winds.
- Anyone living in a mobile home should plan to relocate to a more
- 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.
- Make sure you get refills on needed prescriptions and other personal
- Have plenty of batteries for radios and flashlights.
- Have a full tank of fuel in your car..
- Have at least 3 days of packaged foods and canned goods that require
little or no cooking or refrigeration. Have a manual can opener as
- Put aside bottles of fresh water. You should have enough to provide
one gallon of water to each person in your family for drinking and
sanitation each day. Have at least a 3 day supply on hand.
- Have boards and nails on hand to protect exposed windows.
- Remove your boat from the water. You will not have time if you wait
for the warning to be issued. Remember that you will not be the only
person at your location trying to get a boat out of the water.
- For those that cannot remove the boat from the water, tie up your boat
at this time. Be sure to have plenty of extra lines, chaffing gear
and fenders. Fully charge the battery.
- Insure your vessel is as watertight as possible.
- Remove all non-essential equipment.
- Move all outdoor furniture and toys indoors.
- Remove the pool cover and store it inside. If you have an above-
ground pool, fill it completely. Remove any non-permanent
- After you are through, check on your neighbors and see if they need
If you follow these steps when a hurricane watch is issued, you will be
better prepared and ready to act quickly and calmly should the watch be
upgraded to a warning.
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.