There is no safe place outside when thunderstorms are in the area. If you hear thunder, you are likely within striking distance of the storm. Just remember, When Thunder Roars, Go Indoors. Too many people wait far too long to get to a safe place when thunderstorms approach. Unfortunately, these delayed actions lead to many lightning deaths and injuries in the United States. The National Weather Service has prepared tips on how to stay safe indoors and outdoors as well as brochures and other tools to teach lightning safety.

Flash floods can strike any time and any place with little or no warning. In flat terrain, distant rain may be channeled into gullies and ravines.

During a major rainstorm, many of Westchester's parkways and roadways may become flooded. Observe these flood safety rules. They could save your life.

  • Keep alert for signs of heavy rain (thunder and lightning), both where you are and upstream. Watch for rising water levels.
  • Know where high ground is and get there quickly if you see or hear rapidly rising water.
  • Be especially cautious at night. It’s harder to recognize the danger then.
  • Do not attempt to cross flowing water which may be more than knee-deep. If you have doubts, don’t cross.
  • Do not try to drive through flooded areas.
  • If your vehicle stalls in a flooded area, abandon it and seek higher ground immediately.
  • During threatening weather listen to commercial radio or TV, or NOAA Weather Radio for Watch and Warning Bulletins.

Westchester County is vulnerable to hurricanes and tropical storms with its extensive coastline along the Long Island Sound and Hudson River. These storms, powered by heat from the sea, carry winds of at least 74 miles per hour and can cause extensive damage, especially to low-lying coastal areas.

While hurricanes are relatively rare to Westchester, some times a tropical storm can pack a lot of punch as well. High winds and torrential rains can cause heavy flooding and fallen trees and power lines. Residents throughout the county, especially those living in coastal communities, should have an emergency plan and know what they would do if an evacuation of the area were necessary.

Hurricane winds blow in a large spiral around a relative calm center known as the “eye.” The eye of the storm is generally 20 to 30 miles wide, while the storm itself may extend outward 400 miles. A single hurricane can last for more than two weeks over open waters and can run a path across the entire length of the eastern seaboard. August and September are peak months during the hurricane season that lasts from June 1 through Nov. 30.

In advance of a hurricane, it is important that you:

  • If you live near the Long Island Sound or the Hudson River, know your property's elevation above means sea level.
  • Have a safe evacuation route planned.
  • Learn the storm surge history for your area.

Hurricane Watch
Hurricane conditions pose a possible threat to your area. In especially vulnerable areas, early evacuation may be necessary when a Watch is issued. Otherwise, you should review hurricane safety procedures and make preparations. Listen to NOAA Weather Radio and commercial radio and television for the latest information and instructions for your location.

Hurricane Warning
Hurricane conditions are expected in your area within 24 hours. Begin precautionary action at once. When your area receives a hurricane warning:

  • 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.

Remember: Latest storm-related information will be available on NOAA Weather Radio and commercial radio and television. Do not tie up telephone lines by calling local officials or the National Weather Service. Listen carefully to broadcasters serving your immediate area.