Hurricane Preparedness Guide

Hurricane Preparedness Guide

Hurricanes bring flooding, high wind, storm surge and destruction. Being prepared for these eventualities can minimize your risks, keep everyone safe and decrease your recovery time.


  • Tropical Cyclone: a rotating, organized system of clouds and thunderstorms that originates over tropical and
    subtropical waters and has a closed low-level circulation.
  • Tropical Depression: has maximum sustained winds of 38 mph.
  • Tropical Storm: has maximum sustained winds of 39 to 73 mph.
  • Hurricane: has maximum sustained winds of 74 mph or higher. Known as typhoons in the western North
    Pacific; similar storms in the Indian Ocean and South Pacific Ocean are called cyclones.
  • Major Hurricane: has maximum sustained winds of 111 mph or higher. Corresponds to a Category 3, 4 or 5
    on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale.
  • Storm Surge: an abnormal rise of water generated by hurricane and tropical storm winds. Storm surges can
    reach 25 feet high and be 50-1000 miles wide, rushing many miles inland in flat areas.
  • Safir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale: a 1-5 rating based on a hurricane’s wind speed and potential impact based on the wind speed. Per the National Hurricane Center, the categories are:
    •  Category 1: Very dangerous winds will produce some damage. 74-95 mph.
    • Category 2: Extremely dangerous winds will cause extensive damage. 96-110 mph.
    •  Category 3: Devastating damage will occur. 111-129 mph.
    • Category 4: Catastrophic damage will occur. 130-156 mph.
    • Category 5: Catastrophic damage will occur. 157 mph+.


  • Heavy rainfall can cause severe flooding over wide areas.
  • Hurricanes can create deadly tornadoes.
  • Storm surges can cause extreme flooding and are the greatest threat to life and property from a hurricane.
  • Wind damage varies widely based on hurricane category but could topple trees or knock out power.


•’s Hurricane Preparedness
• FEMA’s How to Prepare for a Hurricane
• FEMA’s Ready Business Hurricane Toolkit
• American Red Cross’ Hurricane Preparedness Guide
• National Hurricane Center’s Hurricane Surge Map (SLOSH)