Hazards: Hurricane


Hurricane icon

A hurricane is a severe tropical storm that can cause catastrophic damage to coastlines and several hundred miles inland. A hurricane can trigger landslides or mud slides and produce winds exceeding 155 miles per hour as well as tornadoes and mircrobursts. Flash flooding and coastal storm surges can occur due to intense rainfall.

A typical cyclone is accompanied by thunderstorms, and in the Northern Hemisphere, a counterclockwise circulation of winds near the earth’s surface. The Atlantic hurricane season lasts from June to November, with the peak season from mid-August to late October.

What to Do
  • Bring in all outdoor furniture, decorations, garbage cans and anything else that is not tied down.
  • If you have a car, fill the gas tank in case you have to evacuate.
  • Fill your bathtub with water to use for toilet flushing in case water is unavailable following a storm.

Seek Shelter

Go to a wind-safe room; if you do not have one, follow these guidelines:

  • Stay indoors during the hurricane and away from windows and glass doors.
  • Close all interior doors – secure and brace external doors.
  • Keep curtains and blinds closed. Do not be fooled if there is a lull; it could be the eye of the storm – winds will pick up again.
  • Take refuge in a small interior room, closet or hallway on the lowest level.
  • Lie on the floor under a table or another sturdy object.
  • Avoid elevators.

Flood Protection

If your home or business is in a flood-prone area, make sure you have a current flood insurance policy (not typically part of a standard insurance policy). A 30-day waiting period is generally required to purchase flood insurance, so take time now to visit your insurance agent to learn more.

Take pictures of your property before the storm to help validate your claim and remember to take your policies with you if ordered to evacuate by officials.

  • If you live in a mobile home or temporary structure – such shelter is particularly hazardous during hurricane no matter how well fastened to the ground.
  • If you live in a high-rise building – hurricane winds are stronger at higher elevations.
  • If you live on the coast, on a floodplain, near a river, or on an island waterway.

Hurricane Terms

Hurricane Watch

A hurricane watchindicates that hurricane conditions are possible in your area within 48 hours.

Hurricane Warning

A hurricane warningindicates that hurricane conditions are expected in your area within 36 hours.

Additionally, short term watches and warnings provide detailed information about specific hurricane threats, such as flash floods and tornadoes.

Related Information



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