Hurricane season has begun. If you live in an area susceptible to hurricanes, the time to prepare for a hurricane disaster is before it hits. As with any severe weather, be sure to watch and follow the weather reports, especially those of the National Weather Service, and follow the suggested precautions below.

Review disaster plans with your family
It is important that you review disaster plans with your family in the event you are not all in the same place at the time of the hurricane. Once alerted by emergency officials, your family must understand that they have to act on those plans too. Preparation and action are two critical keys to weather safety.

Be sure your family is prepared for hurricanes and tropical storms - as for any kind of severe weather.

Download the Tropical Cyclone Preparedness Guide to learn more about hurricanes and hurricane preparedness and as a reference to share with your family.

Find out if your home is located in a hurricane evacuation zone, then read the definitions below to understand the difference between a hurricane watch and a hurricane warning.

Hurricane Watch
A Hurricane Watch is issued when hurricane conditions are a real possibility for the area within 24-36 hours. What you should do:

  • Monitor storm's progress on radio or TV.
  • Get a battery-powered radio and flashlight.
  • Make sure you have sufficient canned food, first aid supplies, drinking water and medication on hand.
  • Fuel your car.

Residents in low-lying areas should also:

  • Plan an evacuation route and destination and be prepared to evacuate upon the recommendation of local officials.
  • Know how and when to turn off the water, gas and electricity in your home.
  • Secure credit cards and cash. Check your "Go Bag."
  • Make plans to care for your pets because they are not allowed into public shelters for health reasons.

Hurricane Warning
A Hurricane Warning is issued when a hurricane is expected within 24 hours. Begin precautionary action at once. What you should do:

  • Follow instructions issued by local officials. They will inform you if you have to evacuate.
  • Make arrangements for the elderly and others with special needs.
  • Secure outdoor objects or bring them indoors.
  • Moor any boats securely.
  • Turn off propane tanks.
  • If conditions are expected to be severe, protect your windows with boards, shutters, or tape.
  • Know who to call if your power goes out.
  • Plan an evacuation route and destination.

If you live in a low-lying coastal area, you may be directed to evacuate. If so, comply immediately.

  • Make arrangements to stay with friends or family outside the affected area whenever possible.
  • Turn off utilities if instructed to do so.
  • If necessary, bring clothing, bedding, bathing and sanitary supplies, medications and your "Go Bag."