Know the Hazards: Hurricanes

A hurricane is a type of tropical cyclone or severe tropical storm that can be accompanied by thunderstorms. The Atlantic Hurricane season lasts from approximately June to November, with peak season occurring between mid-August and late October. Hurricanes can cause damage to coastlines, as well as up to several hundred miles in-land. Hurricanes can also produce winds in excess of 155 miles per hour, tornadoes, microbursts, heavy rain, and thunderstorms. Flooding and debris from forceful winds are often the deadly and destructive results of a Hurricane.


Before​ an Emergency

  • Prepare an emergency kit and create a family communications plan.
  • Familiarize yourself with hurricane evacuation routes in your area and how to find higher ground. Determine where you would go and how you would get there if you needed to evacuate.
  • Trim the trees and shrubs around your home to make them more wind resistant.
  • Clear loose and clogged rain gutters and downspouts.
  • Bring in all outdoor furniture, decorations, garbage can and anything else that is not tied down.
  • If in a high-rise building, be prepared to take shelter below the 10th floor.
  • Consider installing a generator for emergency backup power generation.

During​ an Emergency

  • Stay tuned to radio and TV stations for official weather information.
  • Follow instructions and advice given by emergency officials.
  • Stay indoors during the hurricane and away from windows and glass doors.
  • Close all interior doors – secure and brace external doors.
  • Take refuge in a small interior room, closet, or hallway on the lowest level.
  • Avoid using the phone except in the case of emergencies.
  • Avoid elevators
  • If you live in a mobile home, plan to leave. Mobile homes are unsafe in high winds.
  • Do not attempt to evacuate during the height of a hurricane. You are safer in your home than out on the road
  • Ensure a supply of water for sanitary purposes such as for cleaning and flushing toilets. Fill a bathtub or other large container with the water. This is important for those whose water runs off of an electrical system.  

After an Emergency​

  • Continue listening for the latest updates regarding extended rainfall and subsequent flooding after the hurricane has ended.
  • If you evacuated your home, only return when officials say it is safe to do so.
  • If you cannot return home and need to stay in a shelter, contact your local emergency management office to find out about shelter locations near you.
  • Drive only if necessary and avoid flooded roads and washed- out bridges.
  • Keep away from loose or dangling power lines and report them immediately to the power company.
  • Stay out of any building if you smell gas, there is floodwater around the building, or your home was damaged by fire and the authorities have not declared it safe.
  • Inspect your home for damage. Take pictures of damage, both of the building and its contents, for insurance purposes. If you have any doubts about safety, have your residence inspected by a qualified building inspector or structural engineer before entering.
  • Use battery-powered flashlights in the dark. Do NOT use candles. Note: The flashlight should be turned on outside before entering - the battery may produce a spark that could ignite leaking gas, if present.
  • Watch your pets closely and keep them under your direct control. Watch out for wild animals, especially poisonous snakes. Use a stick to poke through debris.
  • Avoid drinking or preparing food with tap water until you are sure it’s not contaminated.
  • Check refrigerated food for spoilage. If in doubt, throw it out!
  • Wear protective clothing and be cautious when cleaning up to avoid injury.
  • If you have become separated from your family, contact the American Red Cross at 1-800-RED-CROSS/1-800-733-2767 or visit the American Red Cross Safe and Well site:

Related Resources

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