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Be smart. Take part. Prepare.

Hurricane

Scene of a hurricane on a beach with the wind blowing the water on the shore and palm trees swaying. Be smart. Take part. Prepare.

To prepare for these powerful storms:

  • Know your sources of information
  • Prepare your home and workplace
  • Develop an emergency communications plan
  • Know what to do when a hurricane approaches

For more detailed information, download How to Prepare for a Hurricane, a hazard-specific guide, which provides information on the basics of each hazard, how to protect yourself and your property, and what steps to take now.

Hurricanes are massive storm systems that form over the water and move toward land. Threats from hurricanes include high winds, heavy rainfall, storm surge, coastal and inland flooding, rip currents, and tornadoes. These large storms are called typhoons in the North Pacific Ocean and cyclones in other parts of the world. The Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale classifies hurricanes into five categories based on their wind speed, central pressure, and wind damage potential. With wind speeds of 111 miles per hour or more, Category 3, 4, and 5 hurricanes are major according to this scale. Category 1 and 2 hurricanes can also cause damage and injuries. The Atlantic hurricane season lasts from June 1 to November 30, with the peak season from mid-August to late October. The Eastern Pacific hurricane season begins May 15 and ends November 30. In advance of these powerful storms, be prepared to evacuate when ordered to do so, strengthen your home’s outer shell, elevate electrical panels and utilities, waterproof your basements, and consider purchasing flood insurance.

For more information on protecting yourself, your property and your belongings from natural hazards, the America's PrepareAthon! Protective Guidance documents can assist. The Be Smart-Know Your Alerts and Warnings factsheet provides a brief summary of the various alerts and warnings available from Federal, state, and local governments as well as the private sector that you can sign up for to stay informed and be ready to take action to be safe. The Be Smart – Protect Critical Documents and Valuables is a checklist that can help you to take an inventory of your household documents (e.g., financial and medical records), contacts, and valuables. You can find both of these resources, as well as additional Protective Guidance documents, here.

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