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Hurricane and Tropical Storm Resources

Hurricane season is from June 1st through November 30th. It is important to make sure that you prepare before a storm hits and have a plan should you get caught in a storm. With over 400 miles of coastline, Rhode Islanders must pay special attention to flooding and evacuation routes. Visit the Federal Emergency Management Agency's (FEMA) hurricane website to learn what to do before, during, and after a storm.

Did You Know?

  • Hurricanes aren't just powerful gusts of wind - they can produce dangerous amounts of rain and flooding too. They also often cause a storm surge, which can put large coastal areas at risk for flooding.
  • Hurricanes can cause a storm surge to travel several miles inland, damaging homes and businesses.
  • Most hurricane deaths and damages aren't because of the winds - they happen because of flooding. Visit www.floodsmart.gov to find out if you live in a flood-prone area and how flood insurance can lessen the financial impact of a flood.
  • A mere six inches of fast-moving flood water can knock over an adult. It takes only two feet of rushing water to carry away most vehicles, including pickups and SUVs. Remember, turn around, don't drown.
  • A hurricane watch means that hurricane conditions are possible within the next 48 hours. Know your evacuation route and listen to local officials for updates.
  • A hurricane warning means that hurricane conditions are expected within the next 36 hours. Follow evacuation orders from local officials if given.
  • If the power goes out, the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning and fire increases. NEVER use generators in garages or basements and operate them as far away from windows as possible.

Build an Emergency Kit

Be prepared for hurricanes, tropical storms and flooding - learn how to build an emergency kit. Stock up on emergency supplies including food, water, protective clothing, medications, batteries, flashlights, important documents, road maps, and a full tank of gasoline. View a full list of supplies to put in an emergency kit suggested by the American Red Cross.

Create an Emergency Plan

Know what to do before a hurricane strikes - create an emergency plan now. You should have a plan in advance, particularly if you have a medical condition and rely on a device that requires electricity or require physical assistance. Keep your pets in consideration and have a place for them to go, as you make not be able to take them to an emergency shelter with you. As a storm unfolds, evacuees should listen to local authorities on radio or television. Heed local travel restrictions, as evacuation routes often close as a storm develops. If forced to weather a storm, get inside the most secure building possible and stay away from windows. Vehicles are not a safe place to weather a storm. Remember that a lull often signifies the storm's eye—not its end. Anyone riding out a hurricane should wait for authorities to announce that the danger has passed. Tornadoes are often spawned by hurricanes. For more in-depth information on what to do before, during, and after hurricanes, visit the National Weather Service's National Hurricane Center.

Things to Keep in Mind

  • During or after any storm event, consider all downed wires to be energized and dangerous, including telephone, fiber optic and cable TV wires. They may be in contact with energized electric wires that are not within your view. Report downed downed electrical wires to your power company the immediately.
  • During extended power outages, ATMs and credit card machines may not work and pharmacies may be closed. Include extra cash and medications in your emergency kit.
  • If evacuating to an emergency shelter, bring your cell phone along with a charger and/or extra battery.
  • Travel may be restricted on the Jamestown Bridge, Mount Hope Bridge, Pell (Newport) Bridge, and Sakonnet River Bridge during times of high winds. When winds are recorded in excess of 58 MPH, the following vehicles are prohibited from crossing the bridges: panel vans, panel body/box trucks when empty, truck/trailer combinations when empty, house trailers, and motor homes. When winds increase to a sustained 69 MPH, the bridges are closed to all traffic.
  • A hand-crank or battery powered radio will help keep you informed of what's going on when the power goes out.
  • Children will become bored when confined indoors during extended power outages. Put small games or toys in your emergency kit to keep them busy.
  • When high winds are forecasted, bring in all outdoor furniture and secure anything else that is not tied down that might blow away or cause damage.
  • If you have an electric garage door opener, find the manual release lever and learn how to use it in case the power goes out.
  • Never drive over a flooded roadway. Its depth is not obvious and the roadbed may have washed out beneath the water.


Rhode Island is full of wave-hungry surfers. Surfers should be particularly mindful of wave conditions during storms because rip currents and the strong force of water are dangerous. Surfing in dangerous conditions puts an unnecessary strain on emergency personnel. It puts the surfers' lives as well as the rescue workers' lives in danger.

Hurricane and Tropical Storm Resources

If you are experiencing an emergency that requires police, fire, or medical assistance, dial 9-1-1 or dial *77 on your mobile phone to contact your local police department.

Travel and Public Transportation Information

Immediately Report Downed Power Lines

Immediately Report Natural Gas Leaks

American Red Cross Checklists

Rhode Island Special Needs Emergency Registry

The Rhode Island Department of Health (HEALTH) and the Rhode Island Emergency Management Agency (RIEMA) have joined together to develop a registry for Rhode Islanders with disabilities, chronic conditions, and other special healthcare needs. This system is designed to identify individuals who may require special assistance during emergencies. Enrollment in the Registry does not guarantee assistance, but allows first responders to appropriately plan for, prepare for, and respond to the needs of the community. For more information or to enroll, visit the Rhode Island Department of Health website.

Don't put you or your family at risk; follow the instructions of local officials and if told to evacuate, evacuate.