Weather and Storm Safety

eye of the storm image from outer space
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Floods 101

All the following information and more can be found at www.ready.gov/floods

If you are under a flood or flash flood warning, find safe shelter immediately

  • Do not drive, walk, or swim through floodwaters.
    • Turn Around, Do Not Drown!!!
    • Just 6 inches of moving water can knock you down.
    • One Foot of moving water can sweep your vehicle away
  • Stay off bridges over fast-moving water

How to Stay Safe when a flood threatens:

  • Know types of flood risk in your area
  • Sign up for community warning system
  • If flash flooding is a risk, monitor potential signs like heavy rain
  • Learn and practice evacuation routes, shelter plans and flash flood response (www.ready.gov/evacuation)
  • Build an emergency supply kit (www.ready.gov/kit)
  • Purchase or renew a flood insurance policy (www.fema.gov/national-flood-insurance-program)
  • Keep important documents in a waterproof container.
    • Create password-protected digital copies
  • Protect your property
    • Declutter drains and gutters including clearing the street-side gutters of leaves
    • Install check valves
    • Consider a sump pump with a battery
    • Pull in trashcans and any outdoor furniture that could be swept away including plants

Survival During Flooding:

  • Go to the safe location you previously identified
  • If told to evacuate, do so immediately
    • Never drive around barricades.
  • Listen to EAS, NOAA Weather Radio or local alerting systems for information and instruction
  • Do not swim, drive or walk through floodwaters
  • Stay off bridges over fast-moving water
  • If your car is trapped in moving water, stay inside
    • If water is rising inside the car, climb to the roof of the vehicle
  • If trapped in a building, move to its highest level that is NOT the attic.
    • Only get on the roof if necessary and once there, signal for help

After a Flood:

  • Listen to authorities for instructions and information
    • Only return home when authorities say it is safe
    • Avoid driving except in emergencies
    • Wear heavy gloves and boots during clean up
      • Snakes and other animals may have entered during the flood
    • Be aware of the risk of electrocution
      • Do NOT touch electrical equipment if it is wet or you are standing in water
      • If it is safe to do so, turn off the electricity to prevent electric shock
    • Avoid wading in floodwater
      • Water can be contaminated, contain dangerous debris as well as disguise downed or underground power lines
    • Use a generator or other gasoline-powered machinery ONLY outdoors and away from windows

Hurricanes 101

All this  information and so much more can be found at www.ready.gov/hurricanes including videos, graphics and other links.

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Hurricane Preparedness

  • Know your risk of wind, rain and water damage in your area
  • Make an emergency plan for a house as well as anywhere you frequent (Examples: office). The Ready.gov and the CDC websites have resources that will educate you further.
  • Gather supplies in “go bag” or in a car trunk
    • Basic Disaster Supplies Kit
      • Assemble following items in airtight plastic bags and keep them in one or two easy-to-carry containers such as plastic bins or a duffle bag
      • Water (one gallon per person per day for at least three days)
      • Food (Three day supply of non-perishable food)
      • Battery-powered or hand-crank radio or storm radio
      • Flashlight
      • Batteries
      • First aid kit
      • Whistle (to signal for help)
      • Dust masks (to help filter contaminated air)
      • Plastic sheet and duct tape (to shelter in place)
      • Moist towelettes, garbage bags, and plastic ties
      • Pliers or wrench
      • Manual can opener
      • Local maps
      • Cell phone with chargers and backup battery
    • Additional Emergency Supplies
      • ** for COVID-19, Cloth face coverings along with sanitization supplies
      • Prescriptions medications and non-prescription medications such as anti-diarrhea medication, antacids, pain relievers or laxatives
      • Pet food, water, and medications
      • Prescription eyeglasses and contact lens solution
      • Cash or traveler’s checks
      • Important family documents including copies of ID, bank account records, insurance policies
      • Sleeping bag or warm blanket for each person
      • Change of clothing
      • Fire extinguisher
      • Matches
      • Personal hygiene items
      • Disposable utensils, plates, and cups
      • Pencil and paper
      • Games and books for activities
    • You can find a downloadable supply kit here: www.ready.gov/kit
    • Maintain your kit
      • Keep canned food in a cool, dry place
      • Store boxes of food in metal or plastic containers
      • Replace items as needed
      • Review everything once a year
  • Plan for those in a household who may have disabilities
  • Know your Evacuation Zone
    • Map out evacuation routes and plan where you will stay in the need arises
  • Recognize Warnings and Alerts
  • Review Important Documents
    • Insurance policies
    • Personal documents
      • Check if IDs are up to date
    • Make copies and keep in a secure password-protected digital space
  • Strengthen you Home
    • Declutter drains and gutters including those located on the street near your house
    • Bring in outside furniture and anything that could blow away including potted plants
    • Consider hurricane shutters if you own your home
    • Make sure your car has a full tank of gas in case of evacuation
  • Get Tech Ready
    • Keep cell phone charged
    • Purchase backup charging devises to power electronics
  • Help your Neighborhood
    • Check with neighbors especially senior adults and those who may need additional help with securing hurricane plans for themselves
  • Check with the school or office to find out their hurricane plan

Staying Safe During a Hurricane

  • Stay Informed
    • Listen to all emergency alerts and information
    • If told to evacuate, do so immediately
  • Dealing with the Weather
    • Determine how to protect yourself against flooding and high winds
    • Take refuge in a storm shelter or interior room
    • If trapped in a flooded building, go to the highest level, but not the attic.
    • Do not drive, swim, or walk through floodwaters. Just six inches can sweep a car away or knock you down.
    • Stay off bridges over fast-moving water
  • Personal Safety
    • ** for COVID-19: if you must go to a group or community shelter, remember to follow the CDC’s guidelines for protecting yourself and family from COVID-19
      • Take cleaning items with you (Examples: soap, disinfecting wipes, hand sanitizer)
      • Maintain at least 6 feet between you and persons not part of your immediate household
      • Everyone over 2 years should wear a cloth face cover
    • Only use generators outdoors and away from windows

Returning Home after a Hurricane

  • Listen to local officials for information and special instruction
  • Wear protective clothing and work with someone else during clean-up
  • Do not touch electrical equipment if it is wet or you are standing in water.
    • If it is safe, you can turn off electricity at the main breaker or fuse box
  • Avoid wading in floodwater
  • Save phone calls for emergencies
    • Use text messages or social media to communicate with friends and family
    • Document any property damage with photographs.
      • Contact your insurance company for assistance

Downloadable Reference Documents


Being prepared, know how to respond to violence, depression, and suicidal thoughts. Learn the steps to dealing with sexual assault and other vital tips to live by. Check our Covid-19 page for ways to stay safe during the pandemic.