Keep up to date on the latest storm news and use these guidelines to help you decide whether you should stay or go.
GO: If you live in a mobile home or in a storm surge or flood zone, your decision to stay or go is easy. At the first announcement of a hurricane watch, you should complete the tasks in the Hurricane Watch checklist and prepare to leave. If you haven’t already made shelter arrangements for you and your pets, and a hurricane watch has been issued for your area, now is the time for you to prevail upon the hospitality of a nearby friend or relative in an area safe from surge and flooding. It’s likely already too late to find a safe hotel room – or shelter for your pet.
STAY: If you are not in a storm surge or flood zone and live in a home you have hurricane-proofed, have developed a Family Disaster Plan and have assembled a Disaster Survival Kit, your decision is equally easy. Review your plan with family members, double-check your window protection and your disaster supplies, notify your out-of-state family contact that a hurricane is threatening, and work your way through the Hurricane Watch Checklist. If a Hurricane Warning is issued, work your way through that Checklist and prepare to ride out the storm.
DECIDE AT THE TIME: If you live in a reasonably well-built home you have not hurricane-proofed, you face a difficult choice. You will generally be safer in the safest interior area of your home than in your car, and the more dangerous the storm, the more likely you are to face gridlock trying to evacuate the area. If you’re lucky, handy with a hammer and saw, and willing to endure long lines at your building supply store, you might have time to protect your garage doors and windows.
When a Hurricane Watch is Issued
Issued when hurricane conditions are likely within 24-36 hours
- Listen to a battery-operated radio or television for hurricane progress reports.
- Check emergency supplies.
- Fuel car.
- Bring in outdoor objects such as lawn furniture, toys and garden tools; anchor objects that cannot be brought inside.
- Secure buildings by closing and boarding up windows.
- Remove outside antennas.
- Turn refrigerator and freezer to coldest settings.
- Open refrigerator only when absolutely necessary and close quickly.
- Store drinking water in clean bathtubs, jugs, bottles and cooking utensils.
- Store valuables and personal papers in a waterproof container on the highest level of your home.
- Review evacuation plan.
- Moor boat securely or move it to a designated safe place. Use rope or chain to secure boat to trailer. Use tie-downs to anchor trailer to the ground or house.
When a hurricane Warning is Issued
Issued when hurricane conditions are expected in 24 hours or less.
- Listen constantly to a battery-operated radio or television for official instructions.
- If in a mobile home, check tie-downs and evacuate immediately.
- Avoid elevators.
If officials indicate evacuation is necessary:
- Leave as soon as possible. Avoid flooded roads and watch for washed-out bridges.
- Unplug appliances. Turn off electricity, gas and main water valve.
- Tell your designated family contact or someone outside the storm area where you are going.
- If time permits, and you live in a surge or flood zone, elevate furniture to protect it from flooding or -if possible- move it to a higher floor.
- Take Disaster Supply Kit, warm protective clothing, blankets and sleeping bags to shelter.
- Lock up home and leave.