Hurricane Preparedness

Satellite view of a hurricane. Photo from NOAA.


Hurricanes are dangerous and can cause significant damage from storm surges, wind, rip currents, and flooding. Hurricanes can happen along any U.S. coast or territory in the Gulf of Mexico, Atlantic, or Pacific oceans. Storm surge historically is the leading cause of hurricane-related deaths in the United States.

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

A hurricane watch means hurricane conditions (sustained winds of 74 mph or higher) are possible within the specified area. A hurricane watch is issued 48 hours before an area's anticipated onset of tropical-storm-force winds.

During a hurricane watch, prepare your home and review your plan for evacuation in case a hurricane or tropical storm warning is issued. Listen closely to instructions from local officials.

Hurricane warnings indicate hurricane conditions (sustained winds of 74 mph or higher) are expected within the specified area. Because hurricane preparedness activities become difficult once winds reach tropical storm force (sustained winds of 39 to 73 mph), the hurricane warning is issued 36 hours before the anticipated onset of tropical-storm-force winds to allow for important preparation.

During a hurricane warning, complete storm preparations and immediately leave the threatened area if directed by local officials.

Hurricane Readiness

To prepare, stay tuned to your local and national weather station on tv, other device, or radio. Listen for the latest updates from your town, city, county, and state agencies. Make sure that your prescriptions are filled in case our area is impacted. If power is out after the storm, you will want cash on hand because machines that take cards will be down. Remember, water, electricity, and gas utilities may also be affected and may be down for a few hours or even weeks. Plan to have emergency water, light, heat source, and storage for food while utilities are down.

Have a plan in case you are advised to evacuate. Please be familiar with evacuation routes ahead of being warned to evacuate. Remember, everyone else is planning to leave, so prepare for traffic delays. Locate your local storm shelters, stay with family, or make a reservation with a hotel or motel out of the storm impact area. Have a plan for your pets. Please do not leave your pets outside, and do not leave your pets behind. This may take up valuable manpower, resources, and space at our animal shelters after the storm and during clean-up. 

Stay tuned for the latest weather updates. Local agencies may advise on the availability and where to find sand, sandbags, and other resources. The local news and weather agencies may give updates on which storm shelters are open, where they are located, and how to contact the shelter.

Emergency Response

Suppose you decide to stay against the call for evacuation. Once our area becomes impacted, the wind increases to 50 mph and above. Emergency response will be limited. First responders may not respond until the wind drops below 50 mph for our safety and yours. So please consider this when choosing to stay. 

For more information on hurricane preparedness from NOAA, visit NOAA.

For more information on hurricane preparedness from Ready, visit

For a hurricane checklist, visit American Red Cross.

For information on building a Basic Disaster Supplies Kit, visit

For the latest Hurricane updates, visit National Hurricane Center

For the latest local weather updates, visit National Weather Service.