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Preparing for a hurricane or tropical storm

Learn about what actions to take when you receive a Hurricane or Tropical Storm Watch or Hurricane or Tropical Storm Warning. We also offer tips on what to do before and after a Hurricane or Tropical Storm. 

What is a Hurricane or Tropical Storm Watch?

That means hurricane or Tropical Storm conditions are possible within the next 48 hours.

What is a Hurricane Warning?

That means sustained winds of at least 74 mph associated with a hurricane are expected to affect a specified area within 24 hours.

What is a tropical storm warning ?

 That means sustained winds of at least 39 mph associated with a Tropical Storm are expected to affect a specified area within 24 hours.

Before a hurricane or tropical storm

Before A Hurricane or Tropical Storm

Sign up for emergency notifications through AlertBoston.

Review your evacuation zones and listen to local officials. Find out whether your property is in a flood -prone or high-risk area. You can use the Federal Emergency Management Agency's flood maps.

Review the items in your disaster supply kit. Add items to meet the household needs for children, parents, those with access and functional needs, and pets

Check-in with family and friends.

Know where your nearest emergency shelter is located. **During any Hurricane, make sure your local emergency shelter has been activated and is open.

Find an emergency shelter

Put together a disaster supply kit, including a flashlight, batteries, first aid supplies, and copies of your critical information if you need to evacuate. 

If you are not in an area that is advised to evacuate and you decide to stay in your home, plan for adequate supplies. This is in case you lose power and water for several days and are not able to leave due to flooding or blocked roads.

Make a family emergency plan.

  • Be prepared to evacuate if you live or work in a flood zone, hurricane evacuation zone, or an area that is prone to flooding. 
  • If you receive medical treatment or home health care services, work with your medical provider to determine how to maintain care and service if you are unable to leave your home or have to evacuate during.  

Turn on your TV and radio or check your city or town website every 30 minutes to get the latest weather updates and emergency instructions.

Make a record or your person property by taking photos or videos of your belongings and store in a safe place. 

*Flood losses are not typically covered by renter and homeowner's insurance policies. Consider purchasing flood insurance through the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP).

Preparing your home

Hurricane winds can cause trees and branches to fall, so before hurricane season, trim or remove damaged trees and limbs to keep you and your property safe.

Secure loose rain gutters and downspouts and clear any clogged areas or debris to prevent water damage to your property.

Cover all windows if you don't have storm shutters, board up windows with 5/8" exterior grade or marine plywood. (Consider covering sliding doors as well.)

Secure or bring in outdoor objects that could be swept away or damaged during strong winds or flooding. (i.e. Patio furniture, toys, etc.)

Turn off propane tanks.

Elevate items in your basement to prepare for flooding. Be sure to check your sump pump, unplugging sensitive electronic equipment, clearing nearby catch basins, and parking vehicles in areas not prone to flooding.

Prepare for possible power outages:

  • Charge your cell phone so you will have a full battery in case you lose power.
  • Ensure your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors are working and have fresh batteries. 
  • Consider purchasing a portable generator or installing a generator to provide power during an outage. 
  • If you have a life support device or other medical equipment or supplies which depends on electricity, notify your utility and work with your medical proved to prepare for power outages. 

During a hurricane or tropical storm

Avoid driving or going outdoors during the storm. If you must go outside: 

  • Do not walk through flowing water. Six inches of swiftly moving water can knock you off your feet.
  • Do not drive through flooded roads. Cars can be swept away in just two feet of moving water. If your vehicle is trapped in rapidly moving water, stay in the vehicle. If the water is rising inside vehicle, seek refuge on the roof.
  • Do not drive around road barriers.

Monitor media for emergency information. 

Follow instructions from public safety officials. 

If advised to evacuate, do so immediately. Take only essential items and pets. 

If advised to shelter in place: 

  • stay indoors and away from windows, and
  • listen to local television or radio for updates

Conditions may change quickly. Be ready to evacuate to a shelter or neighbor's home, if necessary.

After a Hurricane

Listen to local officials for updates and instructions.

Check-in with family and friends. Return home only when authorities indicate it is safe.

Watch out for debris and downed power lines.

Avoid walking or driving through flood waters. Just six inches of moving water can knock you down, and fast-moving water can sweep your vehicle away.

Avoid flood water as it may be electrically charged from underground or downed power lines. Flood water may also hide dangerous debris or places where the ground is washed away.

Photograph the damage to your property to assist in filing an insurance claim.

Do what you can to prevent further damage to your property — (for example, putting a tarp on a damaged roof) — as insurance may not cover additional damage that occurs after the storm.

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