readydc

Ready DC
Ready DC

Hurricane

Hurricanes are huge storm systems that form over warm ocean water and move toward land. Hurricanes involve heavy rain, damaging wind speeds, flash flooding, and storm surge. They may cause power outages, damage to buildings and homes, and debris on roads. Hurricane season extends from June 1 to November 30, with its peak in September. 

The National Weather Service provides important safety information and critical weather forecast information. It is important to understand the types of hurricane alerts:

  • Hurricane Watch: Hurricane conditions are possible within your area within 48 hours. 
  • Hurricane Warning: Hurricane conditions are likely within 36 hours. 

See the below chart for characteristics of the different category hurricanes 

Category Sustained Winds Types of Damage Due to Hurricane Winds
1 74-95mph Very dangerous winds; will produce some damage
2 96-110mph Extremely dangerous winds; will cause extensive damage
3 111-129mph Devastating damage will occur
4 130-156mph Catastrophic damage will occur
5 157mph or higher Catastrophic damage will occur


Before the Start of Hurricane Season

  • Stay Informed through local radio, television or official social media accounts. Download the free HSEMA app or AlertDC to receive updates wherever you are. 
  • Build or re-stock your Emergency Kit to ensure you have supplies to last you at least three days. 
  • Make a Family Emergency Plan. Your family members may not all be in one place when disaster strikes.  It is important to know what you will do in case of an emergency. Plan how you will contact one another, where you will meet, and how to communicate if you lose power. 
  • Make an emergency plan for your pets. If instructed to evacuate, take your pets with you. 
  • Visit the District Department of Energy and Environment website for flood and flood zone information. 
  • Sign up for flood insurance. 
  • Prepare now - DON’T WATE UNTIL IT’S TOO LATE. 

18-36 Hours Before a Hurricane Arrives

  • Secure loose objects that are too unsafe to bring inside (e.g., propane tanks). 
  • Bring objects inside that could become airborne in high winds (e.g., patio furniture and garbage cans). 
  • If your property floods frequently flooded, place sandbags in appropriate locations. 
  • If you have a generator, make sure it is in working condition and has a supply of fuel. Never bring a generator inside your home or workplace; harmful gases (carbon monoxide) can kill. 
  • Continue to monitor the weather and bring your pets inside when necessary. Visit the National Weather Service Baltimore-Washington website or Twitter for real-time information.
  • District authorities will instruct you to evacuate if necessary. Times when authorities may direct you to evacuate include when:  
    • You are directed by local police or other authorities.
    • You are in a mobile home or temporary structure - these are extremely dangerous during high wind events and could cause serious damage, no matter how well anchored to the ground it may appear.
    • You are in a high-rise building; hurricane winds are stronger at higher levels.
    • You live along the coast, in a floodplain, near a river or on an island waterway.
    • If you cannot return home and need shelter, follow the official information given to you by the District Government to find the nearest available shelter in your area.

6-18 Hours Before a Hurricane Arrives

  • Stay Informed through local radio, television or official social media accounts. Download the free HSEMA app or AlertDC to receive updates wherever you are.  
  • Stay indoors and away from windows, skylights and glass doors. 
  • Close all interior doors – secure and brace external doors. 
  • Turn the freezer and refrigerator to the coldest setting and keep doors closed. 
  • Fill a clean bathtub and other large containers with water; a hurricane may disrupt water service. 
  • Charge your cell phone so you have a full battery.  
  • Turn off gas, water, and power if authorities direct you to do so. 
  • If you are in a multi-story building, try to seek shelter on a lower floor until the hurricane has passed.  
  • Continue to monitor the weather and bring your pets inside when necessary.  
  • Visit the National Weather Service Baltimore-Washington website or Twitter for real-time information. 
  • Check on your neighbors. Help people who may need additional assistance such as babies, children, the elderly, or people with access and functional needs

 

During

Use the following tips to keep your home, family, and pets safe during a hurricane:

If you do not evacuate:

  • Stay Informed through local radio, television or official social media accounts. Download the free HSEMA app or AlertDC to receive updates wherever you are. 
  • Stay indoors and away from windows, skylights and glass doors. Take shelter in a small interior room, closet, or hallway on the lowest level. If you are in a multi-story building, go to the first floor.
  • Keep curtains and blinds closed to provide an added layer of protection from damaging wind and debris.  
  • Avoid using elevators because they may go out of service during a storm. 
    If the “eye” or center of the storm passes over your area, there will be a short period of calm. On the other side of the eye, the wind speed rapidly increases to hurricane force winds again. Stay indoors until officials inform you that it is safe to return outdoors. 

 

After

Use the following tips to help your home, family and pets recover safely after a hurricane:

  • Stay Informed through local radio, television or official social media accounts. Download the free HSEMA app or AlertDC to receive updates wherever you are. 
  • Stay Informed through local radio, television or official social media accounts. Download the free HSEMA app or AlertDC to receive updates wherever you are.  
  • If you evacuated, wait for authorities to tell you to return home.  
  • If you cannot return home, District authorities will provide information on how to find the nearest available shelter.  
  • Stay alert for extra rainfall and flooding after the storm has ended. Visit ReadyDC’s flood page to learn more. 
  • “Turn around, don’t drown”. Do not walk, swim, or drive through flood waters. Just six inches of moving water can knock you down and fast-moving water can sweep your vehicle away. 
  • Be aware that water may be electrically charged from damaged power lines. Damaged power lines may also hide under debris or places where the ground washed away. 
  • Walk carefully around the outside of your home and check for loose power lines, gas leaks, and structural damage before entering. Report any downed power lines around your home and neighborhood immediately to Pepco at 1-877-PEPCO-62 (877-737-2662). This number is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.​ 
  • Keep your pets under your direct control. For pet preparedness tips, visit ReadyDC’s pet page
  • Communicate with family members and friends to let them know you are okay. 
  • If you have a cell phone, call, text, email or use social media. If you do not have a cell phone, use social media apps on personal gaming or tablet devices. 
  • If you have access to a computer, use an online registry such as the Red Cross website, “Safe and Well”.  If you do not have access to a computer, go to your pre-designated meeting place or relay information through friends, family, or coworkers. 
  • Check on your neighbors. Help people who may need special help, such as infants, children, the elderly, or people with disabilities or access and functional needs. 
  • Check your home for damage and photograph all damage to include in insurance claims. 
  • Move structural debris away from walkways and other places that may hurt your family. For debris disposal, follow information given to you by the District public safety officials. 
  • Wait for District officials to tell you it's safe to drink tap water. 

Additional Resources

nhc.noaa.gov/prepare/ready.php
ready.gov/hurricanes
redcross.org/prepare/disaster/hurricane
nhc.noaa.gov/