Hurricanes and Tropical Storms

Emergency Preparedness

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Evacuate under the following conditions: Hurricane Watches and Warnings

If a hurricane is likely in your area, you should do the following activities as soon as possible:

  • Check the City of Raleigh’s website, listen to the radio, or watch TV for information.
  • Bring in all outdoor furniture, decorations, garbage cans and anything else that is not tied down.
  • Ensure a supply of water for sanitary purpose such as cleaning and flushing toilets. Fill the bathtub and other larger containers with water.
  • Fuel and service family vehicles.  Be sure to have extra cash on hand.
  • Avoid using the phone, except for serious emergencies.
  • Prepare to cover all windows and doors with shutters or other shielding materials. Reinforce your garage doors.
  • Turn off utilities and propane tanks.

Evacuate under the following conditions:

If you are directed by local authorities to do so. Be sure to follow their instructions.

If you live in a mobile home or temporary structure – such shelter are particularly hazardous during hurricane no matter how well fastened to the ground.

If you live in a high-rise building - hurricane winds are stronger at higher elevations.

If you are unable to evacuate, go to your wind-safe room. If you do not have one, follow these guidelines:

  • Stay indoors during the hurricane and away from windows and glass doors.
  • Close all interior doors - secure and brace external doors. Keep curtains and blinds closed.
  • Take refuge in a small interior room, closet or hallway on the lowest level.
  • Lie on the floor under a table or another sturdy object.

Hurricane Watches and Warnings

The difference between a hurricane watch and warning comes down to the amount of time before hurricane conditions are expected to hit your area. It's key to take the proper precautions and instructions from officials. 

Hurricane Watch   Hurricane Warning

A Hurricane Watch is issued when there is a threat of hurricane conditions within 24-36 hours.

  • Listen to a battery-operated radio or television for hurricane progress reports.
  • Check emergency supplies.
  • Fuel car.
  • Bring in outdoor objects such as lawn furniture, toys, and garden tools and anchor objects that cannot be brought inside.
  • Secure buildings by closing and boarding up windows. Remove outside antennas.
  • Turn refrigerator and freezer to coldest settings. Open only when absolutely necessary and close quickly.
  • Store drinking water in clean bathtubs, jugs, bottles, and cooking utensils.
  • Store valuables and personal papers in a waterproof container on the highest level of your home.
  • Review evacuation plan.
  • Moor boat securely or move it to a designated safe place. Use rope or chain to secure boat to trailer. Use tie-downs to anchor trailer to the ground or house.


A Hurricane Warning is issued when hurricane conditions (winds of 74 miles per hour or greater, or dangerously high water and rough seas) are expected in 24 hours or less.

  • Listen constantly to a battery-operated radio or television for official instructions. If in a mobile home, check tie-downs and evacuate immediately.
  • Avoid elevators.
  • If at home:
    • Stay inside, away from windows, skylights, and glass doors.
    • Keep a supply of flashlights and extra batteries handy. Avoid open flames, such as candles and kerosene lamps, as a source of light.
    • If power is lost, turn off major appliances to reduce power "surge" when electricity is restored
  • If officials indicate evacuation is necessary:
    • Leave as soon as possible. Avoid flooded roads and watch for washed-out bridges. Cars can become buoyant when water depth reaches one foot, and velocities of 8 to 10 feet per second will sweep a person off of their feet.
    • Secure your home by unplugging appliances and turning off electricity and the main water valve.
    • Tell someone outside of the storm area where you are going.
    • If time permits, and you live in an identified surge zone, elevate furniture to protect it from flooding or better yet, move it to a higher floor.
    • Take pre-assembled emergency supplies, warm protective clothing, blankets and sleeping bags to shelter.
    • Lock up home and leave.


Test your knowledge about hurricanes

Hurricane Trivia Night




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