Pre-Season Hurricane Preparedness
Hurricane season runs from June 1st through November 30th. For Southern
New England, August through September is our most active period. Since
1900, 33 of the 49 tropical storms and hurricanes have struck in August
and September. Of the 12 hurricanes which made landfall in Southern New
England, all but one did so in August or September. The exception was the
New England hurricane of 1916 which made landfall on July 21st. Now is
the time to review what you need to do to protect yourself and your
family, should a hurricane threaten the area later this summer.
The Evacuation Question: To Stay or Leave
Coastal residents may need to decide whether or not to evacuate. 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."
- Know the quickest route to the nearest storm shelter.
- If possible you may wish to make prior arrangements with family or
- If you live in a mobile or modular home, plan to leave.
- Realize that you will not be the only one heading inland and allow
extra time for travel.
- Be ready to leave on short notice - use an emergency preparedness
- 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.
Boat Owners and Marina Operators
The boating community almost always suffers large losses when a hurricane
comes ashore. The boat owner in particular must stay abreast of the latest
forecasts and positions of tropical storms and hurricanes, and be ready to
act long before the storm makes its final approach.
- Boat owners should have all the necessary gear on board for properly
securing their vessel at the start of the boating season. Precious
time will be lost if you are rushing around searching for gear when
the storm is approaching.
- Realize that you may not be able to pull your boat out of the water.
Your only alternative will be to properly tie your boat down.
Practice these procedures at the start of the season.
- Have a plan worked out with the marina operator so there are no
questions or any confusion when the time comes to tie up or pull the
boat out of the water.
- Be sure to remove any non-essential items and have pictures and a
written description of the vessel for insurance purposes.
The Inland 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.
- Know where you will store outdoor furniture.
- Be ready to obtain bottled water. 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
- 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 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.
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
- 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
- If the inland river flood threat is high, you may wish to evacuate
before the hurricane hits.
- Like coastal residents and boat owners, have pictures and
descriptions of items in your home for insurance purposes.
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 combination of: coastal inundation, severe wind damage along the
coast as well as inland, and torrential rainfall resulting in widespread
small stream and river flooding. Respect the power of the hurricane!
Be ready to act should one pose a threat to our area!
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.