Preparing for a Hurricane

On this page, you’ll find information about how to prepare for hurricanes or other weather events that pair catastrophic winds with substantial rains and flooding. You’ll learn:

  1. How to Prepare Emergency Plans
  2. How to Prepare Emergency Supplies
  3. How to Prepare an Evacuation Plan and Know Your Evacuation Zone

Note: This is neither a comprehensive nor a step-by step list. All topics are important to consider when preparing for a hurricane.

How to Prepare Emergency Plans

Before hurricane season begins, create a plan for yourself and your family in the event of a hurricane. Identify your evacuation zone and locate your nearest evacuation routes through your county or town’s resource center. Frequently monitor weather updates, and if possible, sign up for updates.

You should also:

  • Write down emergency phone numbers and program them into your cell phone.
  • Take your pets, medical needs, and transportation into consideration.
  • Safeguard important documents, such as legal, financial, and medical records.
  • Create a home inventory by making a list of your belongings to make filing insurance claim easier.

If you want to check in on loved ones, neighbors, or those who do not live with you, take into consideration COVID-19 social distancing guidelines.

The resources provided below will give you information on how to prepare for a hurricane, how to make an emergency plan, and how to protect your property from damage caused by the hurricane.

Preparing for a Hurricane or Other Tropical Storm
CDC’s comprehensive website on preparing for hurricanes and other tropical storms includes information on how to make a plan before hurricane season starts. [url; CDC, 2019]

How to Create a Home Inventory
This website will help you make a list of your belongings to make filing an insurance claim easier if any of your possessions have been damaged or destroyed. [url; III]

Hurricane Season Insurance Guide
This website describes how to review your insurance policies before a hurricane. [url; III]

Hurricane and Tropical Storm Action: Property Risk Management Guide
While this guide by Liberty Mutual Insurance is intended for business owners, it provides information that can be used by residents on pre-hurricane preparation and how to protect your property from hurricane damage. [pdf; Liberty Mutual, 2019]

How to Prepare Emergency Supplies

Depending on its strength, a hurricane can leave you without running water or electricity for multiple days or even weeks. It’s possible that you will have to survive on the food that you have, as flooding can prevent transportation to a grocery store, which is likely already low in goods. To stay safe, collect emergency supplies beforehand. These supplies are not limited to just food but also medical supplies, tools, and sanitary items.

A basic emergency disaster supply kit should include these items:

  • Water (one gallon per person per day for several days)
  • Food (nonperishable items for at least several days)
  • Flashlight
  • First aid kit
  • Extra batteries
  • Whistle (to signal for help)
  • Plastic sheeting and duct tape (to shelter in place)
  • Wrench or pliers (to turn off utilities)

Note that this is not a complete or comprehensive list. Visit the resource below for more information on the supplies you should include in your disaster kit.

Build a Kit
This resource has a comprehensive list of all the supplies you will need to collect, how to maintain, and how to store an emergency disaster supply kit. It also comes in the form of a printable checklist. [url; Ready.gov]

Preparing for a Hurricane or Other Tropical Storm
CDC’s comprehensive website on how to prepare for hurricane and other tropical storms includes information on which emergency supplies you may need to keep your family safe and healthy. [url; CDC, 2019]

How to Prepare an Evacuation Plan and Know Your Evacuation Zone

Before a hurricane threatens your home, you should arrange your evacuation plan ahead of time. This includes being prepared to take critical items with you and knowing your evacuation zone and routes.

If you are ordered to evacuate from local authorities, only take essential items with you. There are several critical items you should plan to have ready to take with you when leaving your home, including the following:

  • Your emergency disaster supply kit (above).
  • Cell phone and charger.
  • Necessary medications.
  • Personal identification like your passport or license.
  • Cash

You should also know your evacuation zone. Evacuation zones are different from flood zones. Flood zones are year-round, whereas evacuation zones specifically address the dangerous storm surges caused by hurricanes. People may live in a flood zone and not an evacuation zone, and vice-versa. You can often identify your evacuation zone and route through your county or town’s website or by contacting your local emergency management officials.

Build an Emergency Kit and Grab-and-Go Bag
This website provides basic supply lists for what to include in your emergency kit and grab-and-go bag. [url, British Columbia]

Preparing for a Hurricane or Other Tropical Storm
CDC’s comprehensive website on how to prepare for hurricane and other tropical storms includes information on how to be ready to evacuate. [url; CDC, 2019]

Find Your Evacuation Zone
FLASH’s list compiles evacuation zone maps and routes for several states [pdf; FLASH, 2020]

Evacuation Zones vs. Flood Zones 
Read more about the difference between evacuation zones and flood zones and why it is critical to know the difference. [url; Hillsborough County, 2020]

National Storm Surge Hazard Maps 
These interactive maps, which cover Texas to Maine, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands, Hawaii, and Hispaniola, will help you evaluate your risk to storm surge hazard. [url; NHC and NOAA]

 

Latest page update: May 4, 2022.