Preparing for a Hurricane or Tropical Storm

Satellite view of the eye of a hurricane

You can’t stop a tropical storm or hurricane, but you can take steps now to protect yourself and your family.

If you live in areas at risk, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) encourages you to be prepared for hurricane season. The Atlantic hurricane season is June 1 through November 30 each year. It’s always important to be prepared for a hurricane.

Planning for hurricane season and other potential disasters can be stressful, and because the 2020 hurricane season comes during the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, it may be especially so. Your planning may be different this year because of the need to protect yourself and others from COVID-19.

For tips to help you safely prepare, evacuate, and shelter for severe storms while protecting yourself and others from COVID-19, please see: Preparing for Hurricanes During the COVID-19 Pandemic.

Preparing for a Hurricane

Follow these important hurricane preparedness tips from CDC:

  • Prepare for a hurricane: Take basic steps now to ensure your safety should a storm hit.
  • Get emergency supplies: Stock your home and your car with supplies. Give yourself more time than usual to prepare your emergency food, water, and medicine supplies. Home delivery is the safest choice for buying disaster supplies; however, that may not be an option for everyone. If in-person shopping is your only choice, take steps to protect your and others’ health when running essential errands.
  • Make a plan: Create a family disaster plan.
  • Prepare to evacuate: Never ignore an evacuation order. Pay attention to local guidance about updated plans for evacuations and shelters, including shelters for your pets.
  • Protect older adults: Understand older adult health and medical concerns.
  • Protect your pets: Ensure your pet’s safety before, during, and after a hurricane.
  • When you check on neighbors and friends, be sure to follow social distancing recommendations (staying at least 6 feet from others) and other CDC recommendations to protect yourself and others.

CDC recommends that you print important documents (e.g., emergency phone numbers, insurance information) before a hurricane strikes. Power outages during and after a hurricane can prevent you from accessing information online when you most need it.

Preparing now can help keep you and your family safe.

If you need to evacuate, take steps to protect yourself and your family from COVID-19. Prepare a “go kit” with personal items you cannot do without during an emergency. Include items that can help protect you and others from COVID-19, such as hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol, bar or liquid soap, disinfectant wipes (if available), and two masks for each person. Masks should not be used by children under the age of 2. They also should not be used by people having trouble breathing, or who are unconscious, incapacitated, or unable to remove the mask without assistance.

Learn how to stay safe from COVID-19 while staying with friends or family or in a shelter.

Staying Safe After a Hurricane

In addition to preparing for a hurricane, it’s important to take steps to stay safe after a hurricane is over, for example:

  • Avoid flooded areas: Take precautions before, during, and after a flood. Never drive through floodwater.
  • Prevent carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning after the storm: Ensure your CO detector has working batteries. Place generators outside at least 20 feet from any door, window, or vent.
  • Continue to follow preventive actions to protect yourself and others from COVID-19, like washing your hands and wearing a mask during cleanup or when returning home.
  • Dealing with disasters can cause stress and strong emotions, particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic. It is natural to feel anxiety, grief, and worry. Coping with these feelings and getting help when you need it will help you, your family, and your community recover.

Visit Stay Safe After a Hurricane or Other Tropical Storm for more tips on staying safe after a hurricane.

After you have read these tips, please review the other resources available on the CDC Hurricanes website.

Page last reviewed: August 20, 2020