Hurricane 101

What to do Before a Hurricane

If you're staying home, here's what you should do:

  • Monitor the radio or television for weather conditions.
  • Do not go outside, even if the storm appears to have subsided. The calm or "eye" of the storm can pass quickly, leaving you outside when strong winds resume.
  • Stay away from all windows and exterior doors and seek shelter in a bathroom or basement. Bathtubs can provide some shelter if you cover yourself with plywood or other materials.
  • Evacuate to a shelter or a neighbor's home if your home is damaged or if you are instructed to do so by emergency personnel.
  • If power is lost, turn off all major appliances to reduce the chances of damage of a power surge.
  • Do not handle electrical equipment and do not use the telephone except in an emergency.

Regardless of whether you stay or leave, it is important to unplug appliances and electronics, and remove air conditioner fuses to avoid damage caused by power surges when lines and power are restored.


National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Expects Busy Atlantic Hurricane Season

An "active to extremely active" hurricane season is expected for the Atlantic Basin this year according to the seasonal outlook issued by NOAA's Climate Prediction Center - a division of the National Weather Service. As with every hurricane season, this outlook underscores the importance of having a hurricane preparedness plan in place.

Across the entire Atlantic Basin for the six-month season, which begins June 1, NOAA is projecting a 70% probability of 14 to 23 named storms with winds of 39 mph of higher occurring. Out of those storms, 8 to 14 could be a Category 1 or higher. Then, 3 to 7 of those could turn into major hurricanes. (Category 3, 4, or 5)

Category Wind Speed(mph) Damage
1 74-95 Very dangerous winds will produce some damage
2 96-110 Extremely dangerous winds will cause extensive damage
3 111-130 Devastating damage will occur
4 131-155 Catastrophic damage will occur
5 >155 Catastrophic damage will occur

2013Tropical Storm and Hurricane Names

  • Andrea
  • Barry
  • Chantal
  • Dorian
  • Erin
  • Fernand
  • Gabrielle
  • Humberto
  • Ingrid
  • Jerry
  • Karen
  • Lorenzo
  • Melissa
  • Nestor
  • Olga
  • Pablo
  • Rebekah
  • Sebastien
  • Tanya
  • Van
  • Wendy

For more information, visit the National Hurricane Center


Before a hurricane, here's what you should do

  • Stock non-perishable food supplies, a first-aid kit, a battery-powered radio, flashlights, and extra batteries in air-tight containers. You can print out a handy supply list to make it easy.
  • Adjust refrigerator temperatures to the coldest settings to reduce the potential for food spoiling if the power is temporarily lost.
  • Have a non-electric analog telephone or a fully-charged cell phone available in case you need to make an emergency call during a power outage.
  • Heed the advice of local authorities. Evacuate if ordered.
  • If an evacuation is necessary, unplug all appliances, TV's and computers before leaving your home.
  • Remove fuses from the air conditioning system to prevent damage.
  • Turn off water to prevent flooding from broken pipes.
  • Turn off gas to prevent leaks from occurring.
  • Discuss the type of hazards that could affect your family. Know your home's vulnerability to storm surge, flooding and wind.
  • Locate a safe room or the safest areas of your home for each hurricane hazard. In certain circumstances, the safest areas may not be your home but within your community.
  • Determine escape routes from your home and places to meet. These should be measured in tens of miles rather than hundreds of miles.

During a disaster, it is important to monitor local radio, television and your NOAA Weather Radio for local weather reports. Local radio and television can also offer you information about emergency housing, shelter information, first aid and other forms of assistance.

If ordered to evacuate

  • Heed the advice of local authorities.
  • If told to evacuate, leave as early as possible to avoid traffic, preferably in daylight.
  • Leave mobile homes in any case.
  • Unplug all appliances before leaving your situation.
  • Have road maps and reservations ready at a motel/hotel outside flood zones.
  • Stay with friends, relatives or at a low-rise inland motel/hotel outside flood zones.
  • Most public shelters do not allow pets nor do most motels/hotels, so make arrangements ahead of time.

Regardless of whether you stay or leave, it is important to unplug appliances and electronics, and remove air conditioner fuses to avoid damage caused by power surges when lines and power are restored.

What to do