- A hurricane watch means a hurricane may threaten coastal and inland areas, and that hurricane conditions are a real possibility; it does NOT mean that they are imminent.
- When a hurricane watch is issued, everyone in the area covered by the watch should listen for further advisories and be prepared to act promptly if a hurricane warning is ussued.
- A hurricane warning is issued when a hurricane is expected to strike an area within 24 hours.
- Advisories containing hurricane warnings may also include an assessment of flood danger in coastal and inland areas, small craft warnings, gale warnings for the storm's periphery, estimated storm effects, and recommended emergency procedures.
- Keep your radio, television, or National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Weather Radio (NWR) on and listen for the latest Weather Service advisories as well as special instructions from your local government.
- Listen for tornado watches and warnings as tornados are spawned by a hurricane and are among the storm's worst killers.
- Plan your time before the storm arrives and avoid last-minute hurry which might leave you marooned or unprepared.
- Leave low-lying areas that might be swept by high tides or storm waves.
- Leave mobile homes for more substantial shelter.
- Moor your boat securely before the storm arrives, or move it to a designated safe area.
- Board up windows or protect them with storm shutters or tape.
- Secure outdoor objects, such as garbage cans, garden tools, toys, signs, and porch furniture, that might be blown away.
- Store drinking water in clean bathtubs, jugs, bottles, and cooking utensils as your town's water system may be contaminated by the storm.
- Check your battery-powered equipment as your radio may be your only link with the outside world.
- Keep your car fueled because service stations may be inoperable for several days after the storm strikes.
- Stay at home if it is sturdy and on high ground. If not -- and especially if local athorities order an evacutation of your area -- move to a designated shelter.
- Remain indoors during the hurricane as travel is extremely dangerous when winds and tides are whipping through your area.
- Dont' be fooled by the "eye" of the hurricane, which will be a lull in the wind lasting from a few minutes to a half an hour or more.
- Follow the instructions and advice of your local government.
- If you are advised to evacuate, do so promptly.
- If you are told to move to a certain location, go there -- don't go anywhere else.
- If certain travel routes are specified or recommended, use those routes rather than trying to find short-cuts of your own.
- If you are told to shut off your water, gas, or electrical service before leaving home, do so.
- Find out from the radio or television where emergency housing and mass feeding stations are located, in case you need to use them.
- Travel with care.
- If your local government is arranging tansportation for you, precautions will be taken for your safety.
- If you are walking or driving to another location, keep these things in mind:
- Leave early enough so as not to be marooned by flooded roads, fallen trees, and wires.
- Make sure you have enough gasoline in your vehicle.
- Follow recommended routes.
- As you travel, keep listening to your radio for additional information and instructions from your local government.
After the Hurricane
- When the hurricane has passed, remain in your shelter until informed by local authorities that it is safe to leave.
- Keep tuned to your local radio or televison station for advice:
- Where to go to obtain necessary medical care in your area.
- Where to go for necessary emergency assistance for housing, food, clothing.
- Ways to help yourself and your community to recover from the emergency.
- Stay out of disaster areas.
- Drive carefully along debris-filled streets as they may be undermined and may collapse under the weight of your vehicle.
- Aviod loose or dangling wires and report them immediately to your power company or to the local fire or police department.
- Report broken sewer or water mains.
- Prevent fires (lowered water pressure may make fire fighting difficult).
- Check refrigerated food for spoilage if power has been off during the storm.
- Remember that hurricanes moving inland can cause severe flooding and stay away from river banks and streams until all potential flooding is past.