Hurricanes are massive storm systems that form over ocean water and often move toward land. Hurricanes bring high winds, heavy rain, storm surge (rise in water level), flooding and tornadoes. These storms are dangerous and can cause damage to places far inland.

When Hurricane season begins, the time to prepare for a hurricane disaster is before it hits. As with any severe weather, be sure to watch and follow the weather reports, especially those of the National Weather Service. We also strongly recommend you follow local weather channels, whether on the radio, the TV, computer or mobile device so you are in the know of what is going on.

Did You Know?

Each year, an average of ten tropical storms develop over the Atlantic Ocean, Carribean Sea, and Gulf of Mexico. Many of these remain over the ocean. Six of these storms become hurricanes each year. In an average 3-year period, roughly five hurricanes strike the United States coastline, killing approximately 50 to 100 people anywhere from Texas to Maine. 

Know Your Terms

Hurricane Watch

A Hurricane Watch is issued when hurricane conditions are a real possibility for the area within 24-36 hours. 

Hurricane Warning

A Hurricane Warning is issued when a hurricane is expected within 24 hours. Begin precautionary action at once. 

Take Action

A Hurricane Watch is issued when hurricane conditions are a real possibility for the area within 24-36 hours. What you should do:

  • Review disaster plans with your family in the event you are not all in the same place at the time of the hurricane.
  • Monitor the storm's progress on radio or TV.
  • Get a battery-powered radio and flashlight.
  • Make sure you have sufficient canned food, first aid supplies, drin,king water and medication on hand.
  • Fuel your car.
  • Residents in low-lying areas should also:
  • Plan an evacuation route and destination and be prepared to evacuate upon the recommendation of local officials.
  • Know how and when to turn ,off the water, gas and electricity in your home.
  • Secure credit cards and cash. Check your "Go Bag."
  • Make plans to care for your pets because they are not allowed into public shelters for health reasons.



  • Stay Informed
  • Pay attention to emergency information and alerts.
  • If you live in a mandatory evacuation zone and local officials tell you to evacuate, do so immediately.
  • Determine how best to protect yourself from high winds and flooding.
  • Take refuge in a designated storm shelter or an interior room for high winds.
  • Go to the highest level of the building if you are trapped by flooding. Do not climb into a closed attic. You may become trapped by rising flood water.
  • Do not walk, swim or drive through flood waters. Turn-Around. Don’t Drown! Just six inches of fast-moving water can knock you down, and one foot of moving water can sweep your vehicle away.


  • Pay attention to local officials for information and special instructions.
  • Be careful during clean up. Wear protective clothing, use appropriate face coverings or masks if cleaning mold or other debris. People with asthma and other lung conditions and/or immune suppression should not enter buildings with indoor water leaks or mold growth that can be seen or smelled, even if these individuals are not allergic to mold. Children should not help with disaster cleanup work.
  • Wear protective clothing and work with someone else.
  • Do not touch electrical equipment if it is wet or if you are standing in water. If it is safe to do so, turn off electricity at the main breaker or fuse box to prevent electric shock.
  • Do not wade in floodwater, which can contain dangerous pathogens that cause illnesses. This water also can contain debris, chemicals, waste, and wildlife. Underground or downed power lines also can electrically charge the water.
  • Save phone calls for emergencies. Phone systems often are down or busy after a disaster. Use text messages or social media to communicate with family and friends.
  • Document any property damage with photographs. Contact your insurance company for assistance.

Additional Resources:


Ready National Public Service Campaign
American Red Cross
Westchester County Department of Health

Infograph showing safety tips for hurricanes