Did you know hurricane season is from June 1 to November 1? Although hurricanes don't always happen, it's important to be prepared and safe. Every New Yorker should have a plan to either evacuate, or be prepared to safely wait for the storm to end at home.
In order to stay safe, healthy, and hopefully dry, here are the steps you can take to prepare for hurricane season in New York City.
What is a hurricane?
A hurricane is a tropical cycle with winds of 74 mph or greater.
How will I know if a hurricane is going to hit NYC?
There will be a city/state announcement that hurricane conditions are possible within a specified area. A hurricane watch is issued 48 hours before tropical-storm-force winds are predicted to occur. A hurricane warning can also happen, which is an announcement that hurricane conditions are expected within a specific area. The warning is issued 36 hours before a storm is expected to take place.
What is a storm surge?
A storm surge is water pushed toward the shore by the force of the winds swirling around the storm. A storm surge watch is the possibility of life-threatening inundation from rising water moving inland from the shoreline somewhere within the specified area, generally within 48 hours, in association with an ongoing or potential tropical cyclones, a subtropical cyclone or a post-tropical cyclone.
A storm surge warning is the danger of life-threatening inundation from rising water moving inland from the shoreline somewhere within the specified area, generally within 36 hours, in association with an ongoing or potential tropical cyclones, a subtropical cyclone or a post-tropical cyclone.
How will I know if where I live in NYC will be affected?
Hurricanes and storms don’t always hit every part of a city. Often times, there is a protocol for each city zone.
There are six hurricane evacuation zones in New York City, ranked by the risk of storm surge impact, with zone 1 being the most likely to flood. In the event of a hurricane or tropical storm, residents in these zones may be ordered to evacuate.
Tips to prepare for a hurricane
1. Make a plan.
Whether you live alone or with friends or family, create a plan on what to do in the event of a hurricane. Plan where to meet and find each other and how to communicate. You can create an emergency plan here: NYC.gov/myemergencyplan
If you have a disability, access, or functional need, it’s really important to plan ahead in the even of a hurricane. Make sure you know where you’re going to stay, have an emergency contact who will come help you, and have assistance ready for when you evacuate.
2. Know your zone.
As mentioned before, different areas of the city may be subject to surge flooding. If you live in a zone where that is possible, make sure to stay tuned of surge flood warnings and evacuation orders. Knowing your zone could make a huge difference in your safety. You can find out your hurricane evacuation zone here: Hurricane Evacuation Zone Finder
3. Stay informed.
Knowing what’s going on is key to your health and safety. Stay abreast of hurricane developments by signing up for Notify NYC to receive emergency notifications and updates via email, phone, SMS /text, or Twitter. Notify NYC messages are also available in American Sign Language (ASL).
4. Create a Go Bag.
Everyone in your household should have their own Go Bag. A Go Bag is a collection of things you want/need if you have to leave in a hurry (like if you need to evacuate quickly). A good Go Bag is either a sturdy backpack or a small suitcase with wheels. This is what you should put in your Go Bag:
· Copies of your important documents in a waterproof and portable container (insurance cards, birth certificates, deeds, photo IDs, proof of address, etc.)
· Extra set of car and house keys
· Copies of credit/ATM cards
· Cash (in small bills)
· Bottled water and nonperishable food, such as energy or granola bars
· Flashlight (Note: Traditional flashlight bulbs have limited lifespans. Light Emitting Diode (LED) flashlights, however, are more durable and last up to 10 times longer than traditional bulbs.)
· Battery-operated AM/FM radio
· Extra batteries/chargers
· A list of the medications each member of your household takes, why they take them, and their dosages. If you store extra medication in your Go Bag, be sure to refill it before it expires. Get prescription preparedness tips from the NYC Department of Health & Mental Hygiene
· First-aid kit
· Notepad and pen
· Contact and meeting place information for your household, and a small regional map
· Lightweight raingear and Mylar blanket
5. Buy food, water, and supplies ahead of time.
If a hurricane is expected to affect your neighborhood, go to the grocery story and buy enough food and water for at least seven days. Make sure the food you buy isn’t perishable, as you may loose electricity (which means your refrigerator won’t work). In the event of a hurricane, you could lose access to electricity, gas, water, and telephone service. Buy anything you think you’ll need – flashlights, nails to shut your windows in, boards to protect your windows, etc.
For more information on how to be prepared, check out NYC’s My Emergency Plan
What are some good resources?
NYC Emergency Management on Facebook and Twitter: www.facebook.com/NYCemergencymanagement @nycemergencymgt
Notify NYC: Get free emergency alerts Get notifications that matter most to you. Register by getting the free mobile application, visiting NYC.gov/notifynyc, calling 311, or following @NotifyNYC on Twitter
Advance Warning System: For organizations that serve people with disabilities or others with access and functional needs www.advancewarningsystemnyc.org
NYC Well: NYC Well is your connection to free, confidential mental health support. Speak to a counselor by phone, text message or online chat. 1-888-NYC-WELL, (1-888-692-9355), (TTY: 711) Text “WELL” to 651-73 NYC.gov and search “NYC Well”