National Weather Service United States Department of Commerce

Hurricane Preparedness Week in Southern New England: July 15th - July 19th, 2019
For more information, please visit our efforts at making a Weather-Ready Nation.
Also please consult additional Hurricane Safety Tips than those below including Ready.gov information.

In addition, please consult our local tropical weather page.

The National Weather Service in Norton will feature a different Hurricane-related topic each day during the Hurricane Awareness Week.

 

DAY 1 – DETERMINE YOUR RISK

The National Weather Service (NWS) Boston, MA has declared July 15th through July 19th as Hurricane Preparedness Week. Each day this week we will highlight a different preparedness topic.

Any tropical system with a name in the Bahamas has the potential to quickly become our business. There are two main source regions for New England hurricanes, the Cape Verde Islands off the west coast of Africa and the Bahamas. The Cape Verde storms can become huge because they have a week or more to travel across the Atlantic, and we know they are coming well in advance. Bahamas storms tend to be somewhat smaller, but they can develop rapidly and impact New England very quickly.

In mid-August 1991, a cluster of thunderstorms formed near the Bahamas on a Friday afternoon when most emergency managers went home for the weekend. It was not even a tropical depression yet, but it quickly developed into major Hurricane Bob that Saturday. By Monday, Bob had weakened to a Category 2, but had accelerated and was in for breakfast and out for dinner, like many New England hurricanes.

Do not concentrate on when the eye is going to make landfall. If you do, you will be too late with your preparations. Our storms often accelerate up the coast and when they do, become very asymmetric. The important effects of the storm are shunted way out ahead of the eye.

For example, even though the center of Hurricane Bob was still off The North Carolina coast, coastal roadways in Rhode Island were closed 12 to 14 hours in advance due to coastal flooding. This was associated with tropical storm force wind gusts in the outer rain band squalls. As another example, the eye of the 1938 hurricane moved from Cape Hatteras North Carolina to New Haven Connecticut in 8 hours, at times racing north around 60 mph! Unlike most storms, the 1938 hurricane did not weaken on its way toward southern New England due to its rapid forward speed and track.

So, remember a named tropical cyclone in the Bahamas should be monitored. Your safety preparations should be completed not started, by the time the storm is at the latitude of North Carolina. Do not focus on when the eye is coming ashore, because nasty weather will be occurring 12 or more hours in advance of the eye.

DAY 2 – HURRICANE EVACUATIONS

The National Weather Service (NWS) Boston, MA has declared July 15th through July 19th as Hurricane Preparedness Week. Each day this week we will highlight a different preparedness topic.

During Hurricane Preparedness Week, make sure you have a hurricane evacuation plan.

Along a coastline, the main threat is the storm surge. The storm surge is simply water from the ocean pushed toward shore by the wind. Besides the intensity and speed of a tropical system, the arrival time and slope of the ocean bottom play a large role in determining the severity of a storm surge. A storm surge arriving during the peak of a high tide will be different than the same storm surge arriving during a low tide. Areas with a steep coastline will not experience as much storm surge as areas with a more shallow coast.

Whether from inland flooding or storm surge, the goal of evacuation is to move from a not so safe area, to a safer area. This does not necessarily mean evacuees must travel hundreds of miles. In fact the shortest travel distance to a safe location is best since it reduces traffic congestion and minimizes the chance of encountering other problems on the roadways. Also remember it will often take more time to reach your destination.

Staying with family or friends, or even at a hotel, outside the area to be impacted by a tropical system is ideal. Another good idea is to establish a common contact outside the impacted area where family and friends can check in, and let other family and friends know they are safe.

When evacuating, it is best to use the routes designated by authorities. These routes are often more closely monitored, and assistance can be provided more quickly. You can find evacuation routes for your area by contacting local emergency management officials.

If you have pets, call ahead to your chosen destination. Most public shelters do not accept pets. If a public shelter does accept pets, they must be either on leash or in a cage or box. Do not forget to bring pet food, most shelters do not provide it.

http://flash.org/hurricane-season/evacuation-zones/find-your-evacuation-zones.pdf

DAY 3 – DISASTER SUPPLIES

The National Weather Service (NWS) Boston, MA has declared July 15th through July 19th as Hurricane Preparedness Week. Each day this week we will highlight a different preparedness topic.

The storm tide, inundation, can arrive several hours ahead of the tropical cyclone eye, potentially resulting in the closure of evacuation routes for an area. Even if the decision to leave is made, it may no longer be possible to do so. Do not wait to leave if asked to evacuate.

Be prepared to be self-sufficient for at least three days up to one week. This means having enough food, water and medicines for all members of your family. If you have pets, do not forget their needs as well.

A hurricane strike in southern New England will disrupt normal activities. There is the possibility for many roads to be closed due to flooding, fallen trees or debris. Until the water recedes, or the debris removed, it may not be possible to travel. That means no trips to the grocery or convenience store, or restaurants for food or drink. This also means emergency services, such as police, fire and ambulance, may also be interrupted.

Electric and telephone services may be unavailable for days, including cellular phones. Prior to the start of hurricane season, it is a good idea to establish a common contact well away from the east or south coasts. As the storm approaches, you can contact that person to inform them that you have moved to a safe shelter. Family and friends should know to contact that person to find out about your well-being.

Putting together a disaster preparedness kit can be very expensive if done all at once. Try building your  it slowly, by purchasing one or two items per week.

A basic kit should contain at least,

  • One gallon of water per person per day for drinking and sanitation
  • Non-perishable food and a manual can opener
  • Battery powered or hand crank radio and a NOAA All-Hazards weather radio - include extra batteries for each
  • Flashlights or lamps - include extra batteries
  • First aid kit
  • Extra glasses and any medicines
  • A whistle to signal for help
  • A wrench or pliers to turn off utilities
  • Moist towelettes, garbage bags and plastic ties for sanitation
  • Local maps

Do not use candles or an open flame as a source of light after a major storm. Fire services will likely be disrupted, and a small fire could get out of hand quickly. If there happens to be a natural gas leak nearby or some kind of fuel in flood waters, a bad situation could be made much worse.

Stay away from downed power lines. There is no advance notice when power could return to the lines. Or, someone on the street could have hooked up their portable generator improperly.

For more suggestions on what should go into a disaster kit, please visit www.ready.gov/america/getakit. You could also visit the website of your states emergency management agency or office of public safety.

For more information concerning evacuation plans for hurricanes, please visit the website of your states emergency management agency or office of public safety. Other sources would be local emergency management officials and FEMA.

For more information on the new storm surge watches and warnings please visit www.nhc.noaa.gov

DAY 4 – HURRICANE INSURANCE

The National Weather Service (NWS) Boston, MA has declared July 15th through July 19th as Hurricane Preparedness Week. Each day this week we will highlight a different preparedness topic.

This Hurricane Preparedness Week, call your insurance company or agent and ask for an insurance checkup to make sure you have enough homeowners insurance to repair or even replace your home. Don't forget coverage for your car or boat.

The same can be said for heavy rainfall farther inland, as rivers, streams and creeks respond quickly. Tropical systems in southern New England typically can produce 6-8 inches of rain in a 24 hour period, and sometimes much more.

Most recently on 28 August 2011 Tropical Storm Irene brought 6 to 10 inches of rain along the east slopes of the Berkshires in Massachusetts as well as central and western portions of Hartford county Connecticut. In those areas stream and river flooding ranged from significant to locally catastrophic. Several river gages maintained by the United States Geological Survey set new records.

Irene brought major flooding across portions of northwest Massachusetts. There were numerous evacuations and a number of homes that were flooded and others condemned. One building in Shelburne Falls was moved a distance downstream of its foundation. Another home was reported to have been washed away in Leyden along the Green River. Multiple major routes and highways were affected as well as large swaths of farmland.

Irene was a strong reminder that impacts from tropical storms and hurricanes are not limited to the coastline. These systems contain copious amounts of moisture that can be transported far inland, creating devastating flooding if the conditions are favorable for prolonged torrential rains.

Consider acquiring flood insurance, which is not a part of regular homeowners insurance.

Remember, standard homeowners insurance doesn't cover flooding. Whether you're a homeowner or renter, you'll need a separate policy for flooding. It's available through your company, agent or use the agent locator at www.floodsmart.gov. Act now as flood insurance requires a 30­day waiting period.

Tomorrow, we will concentrate on preparedness actions for New England hurricanes.

DAY 5 - EVACUATIONS

...Hurricane Preparedness Week in Southern New England...
...Rules of Thumb for Southern New England Hurricanes - Part 5...

The second threat from the storm tide: inundation. The storm tide can arrive several hours ahead of the tropical cyclone eye, potentially resulting in the closure of evacuation routes for an area. Even if the decision to leave is made, it may no longer be possible to do so. Do not wait to leave if asked to evacuate.

The same can be said for heavy rainfall farther inland, as rivers, streams and creeks respond quickly. Tropical systems in Southern New England typically can produce 6-8 inches of rain in a 24 hour period, and sometimes much more.

Most recently on 28 August 2011 Tropical Storm Irene brought 6 to 10 inches of rain along the east slopes of the Berkshires in Massachusetts as well as central and western portions of Hartford County, Connecticut. In those areas stream and river flooding ranged from significant to locally catastrophic. Several river gages maintained by the United States Geological Survey set new records.

Irene brought major flooding across portions of Northwest Massachusetts. There were numerous evacuations and a number of homes that were flooded and others condemned. One building in Shelburne Falls was moved a distance downstream of its foundation. Another home was reported to have been washed away in Leyden along the Green River. Multiple major routes and highways were affected as well as large swaths of farmland.

Irene was a strong reminder that impacts from tropical storms and hurricanes are not limited to the coastline. These systems contain copious amounts of moisture that can be transported far inland, creating devastating flooding if the conditions are favorable for prolonged torrential rains.

Whether from inland flooding or storm surge, the goal of evacuation is to move from a not so safe area, to a safer area. This does not necessarily mean evacuees must travel hundreds of miles. In fact the shortest travel distance to a safe location is best since it reduces traffic congestion and minimizes the chance of encountering other problems on the roadways. Also remember it will often take more time to reach your destination.

Staying with family or friends, or even at a hotel, outside the area to be impacted by a tropical system is ideal. Another good idea is to establish a common contact outside the impacted area where family and friends can check in, and let other family and friends know they are safe.

When evacuating, it is best to use the routes designated by authorities. These routes are often more closely monitored, and assistance can be provided more quickly. You can find evacuation routes for your area by contacting local emergency management officials.

If you have pets, definitely call ahead to your chosen destination. Most public shelters do not accept pets. If a public shelter does accept pets, they must be either on leash or in a cage or box. Do not forget to bring pet food, most shelters do not provide it.

Consider acquiring flood insurance, which is not a part of regular homeowners insurance.

The last rule of thumb for New England hurricanes is this, be prepared to be self sufficient for at least three days up to one week. This means having enough food, water and medicines for all members of your family. If you have pets, do not forget their needs as well.

A hurricane strike in Southern New England will disrupt normal activities. There is the possibility for many roads to be closed due to flooding, fallen trees or debris. Until the water recedes, or the debris removed, it may not be possible to travel. That means no trips to the grocery or convenience store, or restaurants for food or drink. This also means emergency services, such as police, fire and ambulance, may also be interrupted.

Electric and telephone services may be unavailable for days, including cellular phones. Prior to the start of hurricane season, it is a good idea to establish a common contact well away from the east or south coasts. As the storm approaches, you can contact that person to inform them that you have moved to a safe shelter. Family and friends should know to contact that person to find out about your well-being.

Putting together a disaster preparedness kit can be very expensive if done all at once. Try building your kit slowly, by purchasing one or two items per week.

A basic kit should contain at least ...
  • One gallon of water per person per day for drinking and sanitation
  • Non-perishable food and a manual can opener
  • Battery powered or hand crank radio and a NOAA All-Hazards weather radio - include extra batteries for each
  • Flashlights or lamps - include extra batteries
  • First aid kit
  • Extra glasses and any medicines
  • A whistle to signal for help
  • A wrench or pliers to turn off utilities
  • Moist towelettes, garbage bags and plastic ties for sanitation
  • Local maps
Do not use candles or an open flame as a source of light after a major storm. Fire services will likely be disrupted, and a small fire could get out of hand quickly. If there happens to be a natural gas leak nearby or some kind of fuel in flood waters, a bad situation could be made much worse.

Stay away from downed power lines. There is no advance notice when power could return to the lines. Or, someone on the street could have hooked up their portable generator improperly.

For more suggestions on what should go into a disaster kit, please visit www.ready.gov/america/getakit. You could Also visit the website of your states emergency management agency or office of public safety.

For more information concerning evacuation plans for hurricanes, please visit the website of your states emergency management agency or office of public safety. Other sources would be local emergency management officials and FEMA.