Homeland Security and Emergency Services

Understanding The Warnings

"Hurricane Watch"

A Hurricane Watch means that hurricane conditions MAY threaten an area within 24-36 hours.  When a Hurricane Watch is issued, everyone in that area should listen for further advisories and be prepared to act promptly:

  • Frequently listen to your radio, television or NOAA Weather Radio for official bulletins on the progress of the storm.
  • Fuel and service family vehicles.  Service stations may be unable to pump fuel because of flooding or loss of electrical service.
  • Moor small craft or move to safe shelter.
  • Inspect and secure mobile home tie downs.
  • Tape, board or shutter all window and door openings.  Wedge sliding glass doors to prevent lifting from their tracks.
  • Check for batteries, flashlights and battery-operated radios.
  • Check on your supply of canned food, first aid supplies, drinking water and medications.
  • Secure or bring inside lawn furniture and other loose, lightweight objects, such as garbage cans and garden tools that could become a projectile in high winds.
  • Have on hand an extra supply of cash.

"Hurricane Warning"

A hurricane WARNING is issued when hurricane conditions are expected in a specified coastal area in 24 hours or less.  Hurricane conditions include winds of 74 miles an hour (64 knots) and/or dangerously high tides and waves.  Actions for protection of life and property should begin immediately when the warning is issued, including:

  • Frequently listen to your radio, television or NOAA Weather Radio for official bulletins on the progress of the storm.
  • Complete preparation activities such as putting up storm shutters, storing loose objects, etc.  Move valuables to upper floors.
  • Store drinking water in clean jugs, bottles and cooking utensils.  The water system in your town could become contaminated or damaged by the storm.
  • Check your battery-powered equipment.  Your radio may be your only link with the outside world.  Emergency cooking facilities and flashlights will be essential if utility services are interrupted.
  • Follow instructions issued by local authorities.  Leave IMMEDIATELY if told to do so.
  • Leave low-lying areas that may be swept by high tides or storm waves.
  • If you plan to leave your home, leave early (if possible, in daylight) to avoid the last-minute rush that could leave you stranded.  Stay with friends or relatives, at a low-rise inland hotel/motel, or go to a pre-designated public shelter outside a flood zone.
  • In any case, leave mobile homes for more substantial shelter.
  • Notify neighbors and a family member outside of the warned area of your evacuation plans.
  • Put food and water out for a pet if you cannot take it with you.  Public health regulations do not allow pets in public shelters, nor do most hotels/motels allow them.