Hurricanes are severe tropical storms that form in the southern Atlantic Ocean, Caribbean Sea, Gulf of Mexico, and in the eastern Pacific Ocean. Scientists can now predict hurricanes, but people who live in coastal communities should plan what they will do if they are told to evacuate.
A survey of coastal communities indicated that barely a third of families plan for hurricanes or flooding. Only a fifth has a disaster supplies kit or evacuation plan. Most hurricane-related deaths occur from inland flooding far from coastal areas.
Prepare for Hurricanes
Familiarize yourself with the terms that are used to identify a hurricane.
Hurricane Watch: a hurricane is possible in your area. Be prepared to evacuate. Monitor weather-alerting radios and local radio and television news outlets for information.
Hurricane Warning: a hurricane is expected in your area. If local authorities advise you to evacuate, leave immediately.
Prepare to secure your property.
Cover all of your home's windows with pre-cut plywood or hurricane shutters to protect your windows from high winds.
Plan to bring in all outdoor furniture, decorations, garbage cans and anything else that is not tied down.
Keep all trees and shrubs well trimmed.
Make a plan to evacuate in case you are advised to do so.
Lock the door behind you.
Stay out of flood waters, if possible. The water might be contaminated or electrically charged. However, should you find yourself trapped in your vehicle in rising water get out immediately and seek higher ground.
Be alert for tornadoes and flooding. If you see a funnel cloud or if local authorities issue a tornado warning take shelter underground, if possible or in an interior room away from windows. If waters are rising quickly or local authorities issue a floor of flash flood warning, seek higher ground.
Stay away from downed power lines to avoid the risk of electric shock or electrocution.
Do not return to your home until local authorities say it is safe. Even after the hurricane and after flood waters recede, roads might be weakened and could collapse. Buildings might be unstable, and drinking water might be contaminated. Use common sense and exercise caution.
If you are not able to evacuate, make a plan to safely stay where you are.
Know the Road Conditions Before You Leave
Know the road conditions before you hit the highways. Visit VA511 or dial 511 from any phone for real-time traffic information and road condition reports.