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Tropical Storm Safety

What is a tropical storm warning?

A tropical storm warning means that tropical storm conditions, including sustained winds of 39 to 73 mph, are expected to impact the specified area within 36 hours. A tropical storm can impact all of Southern New England, with the threats of: minor coastal flooding, beach erosion, scattered wind damage, some power outages, and torrential rainfall resulting in flash flooding.

The Marine Threat

One of the biggest threats a tropical storm can pose to New England is to the boating community. Your National Weather Service gives the following tips to boat owners and marina operators on how to prepare for a tropical storm:

  • Build in extra time. Tropical storms can accelerate as they approach New England, dramatically reducing the time you have to prepare.
  • Boat owners should properly secure their vessel as soon as possible, then leave their vessel. Do not return until after the storm has completely left the area.
  • 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.
  • Follow the instructions of the marina operator so there are no questions or any confusion. Act quickly and safely, then leave.
  • Be sure to remove any non-essential items and have pictures and a written description of the vessel for insurance purposes.
  • If a tropical storm warning is issued while out at sea, boaters should seek safe harbor immediately. Mariners are also advised to remain in port until the tropical storm passes. The combination of tropical storm force winds and large swells will challenge even the most skillful mariner.

The Coastal Flood Threat

Tropical storms can bring large ocean swells and waves along with a storm surge of several feet.

  • Minor coastal flooding is likely: especially to the east of the storm center.
  • Coastal residents should take in any outdoor items that may lie close to the water.
  • Large waves and swells will result in beach erosion.
  • Everyone must remain clear of beaches. Large swells and waves can create deadly rip currents which can pose a danger to even the most skilled swimmer.
  • Evacuations due to winds are rarely needed, but some low-lying coastal roads may need to be closed due to large swells and waves breaking over sea walls.

Inland Threats

Tropical storms not only affect the marine community, inland areas can be affected with strong winds and flash flooding.

  • Scattered power outages as well as damage to tree limbs should be anticipated.
  • You should plan for some power disruption and have extra batteries and flashlights at the ready.
  • Torrential rains associated with tropical storms can lead to flash flooding along small streams and rivers along with flooding of poor drainage areas and streets.
  • Anyone that might consider camping should postpone those plans until the threat of high winds and flash flooding passes.

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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