The annual hurricane season starts June 1 and ends November 30. Hurricanes are intense, rotating oceanic weather systems that form in the southern Atlantic Ocean, Caribbean Sea, Gulf of Mexico, and eastern Pacific Ocean. Hurricanes can now be predicted, but people living in coastal communities should plan what they will do if a mandatory evacuation is issued.

  • Do not walk through a garage or basement with standing water.
  • Do not attempt to wade through moving water over six inches deep that may cause you to fall.
  • Do not attempt to drive through moving water.
  • Do not come near water that has made contact with downed power lines.
  • If you are asked to leave your home, turn off utilities including gas and propane tanks.
  • Do not allow children to play around storm drains, fast-moving water or flooding areas.
  • Learn predetermined evacuation routes should they become necessary.
  • If you must evacuate, take your pets with you. Make sure your pet is wearing a collar and, if possible, in a pet carrier that is labeled. Bring food and water for your pet.
  • Listen to local radio and television for potential flooding, mud slides or landslides due to excessive rainfall, and instructions regarding evacuation.

Frequently Asked Question: What is the difference between a hurricane watch and warning? The National Hurricane Center defines:

Hurricane Watch: as an alert issued for your part of the coast when the possibility exists that you could experience hurricane conditions within 36 hours. This watch should trigger your family’s disaster plan, and protective measures should be initiated, especially those actions that require extra time such as securing a boat, leaving a barrier island, etc.

Hurricane Warning: as an alert issued for your part of the coast when sustained winds of at least 74 mph are expected within 24 hours or less. Once this warning has been issued, your family should be in the process of completing protective actions and deciding the safest location to be during the storm.

Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Scale: Hurricanes are classified into five categories based on wind speed, central pressure and damage potential. Hurricanes classified as Category Three or higher are considered major hurricanes. Category One and Two hurricanes are still extremely dangerous and warrant your full attention.

Click here for the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Scale provided by the National Hurricane Center.

Other disasters include:

Click here to get a kit & make a plan.