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Hurricane Watch - Inland Safety

What is a hurricane watch?

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.

Of all the many weather hazards that affect Southern New England, the hurricane is by far the most destructive. Unlike most other weather hazards, a hurricane can impact every area of Southern New England with the deadly threats of: coastal inundation, severe wind damage along the coast and farther inland, and torrential rainfall resulting in widespread small stream and river flooding.

Respect the power of the hurricane. Act now to protect your life and property. Always build in extra time. New England hurricanes often accelerate up the coast drastically, reducing your time to prepare. When a hurricane watch is issued, your National Weather Service urges you to follow these preparedness rules:

Wind Threat

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. Inland residents should also properly prepare their property for high winds and disrupted utilities, especially electricity, water and gas.

  • 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 becoming missiles.
  • Brace garage doors and avoid opening any door on the windward side of the home.
  • 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.
  • 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.

The "Often Forgotten" River Flood Threat

While most Southern New Englanders relate hurricanes to severe coastal flooding, and rightfully so, history shows us that 15 tropical storms and hurricanes since 1900 have caused significant inland small stream and river flooding.

  • Know where the closest storm shelter is located, and the quickest route to it.
  • Be ready to evacuate immediately if flooding occurs or is expected to occur.
  • If the inland river flood threat is high, you may wish to evacuate now before the hurricane hits.
  • Like coastal residents and boat owners, have pictures and descriptions of items in your home for insurance purposes.

Other Tips

  • Make sure you get refills on needed prescriptions and other personal supplies. Have enough to last at least 3 days.
  • Have a full tank of fuel in your car.
  • If time allows, you may want to stop at the bank to have extra money on hand. Automatic teller machines will not work should the power be disrupted. Credit and debit cards may not work if the phone or satellites systems they rely on are disrupted.

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.


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