Storm Preparedness Guide - Dallas News | myFOXdfw.com

Storm Preparedness Guide

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When most New Yorkers hear "hurricane" or "tropical storm," they probably think of the gulf states. But New York can and does get hit by tropical storms. After all, New York is a seaside city -- four of the five boroughs are either islands or parts of an island. In fact, a direct hit by a major storm can be crippling and even devastating if residents and city officials don't take the right precautions.

The city's Office of Emergency Management has a detailed hurricane plan and resources, which include an evacuation procedure and guidelines for citizens. Depending on the severity of the situation, you may have to evacuate your home. OEM encourages you to call 311 if you need assistance preparing or dealing with impending severe weather.

You should read as much information as possible from OEM and the American Red Cross , especially how to prepare an emergency supply kit and go bag . Also check out information on coping with storm surge .

Under New York State law, the New York City mayor has the power to declare a local state of emergency. This might include issuing evacuation instructions for one or more hurricane evacuation zones if it were determined that clear and present danger to the public exists.

Deciding to issue evacuation instructions requires in-depth analysis of storm forecasts and local conditions, which is coordinated by the mayor, OEM, state and federal agencies, the National Weather Service and National Hurricane Center, and jurisdictions throughout New Jersey, Long Island and upstate New York.

EVACUATION INSTRUCTIONS

The mayor can issue two different kinds of evacuation instructions:

EVACUATION RECOMMENDATION: The mayor may recommend certain residents take steps to evacuate voluntarily. A recommendation might be issued to cover residents of certain zones, communities or building types. An evacuation recommendation could also be issued for the benefit of people with mobility challenges who need extra time to evacuate.

EVACUATION ORDER: The mayor may order residents of specified zones or communities to leave their homes for the protection of their health and welfare in the event of an approaching storm.

Click to find out information about New York City's evacuation zones, including how to find your zone on a map (PDF) or with the interactive zone finder . Also, download OEM's hurricane guide .

HOW TO EVACUATE

Since flooding and high winds can occur many hours before a hurricane makes landfall, it is critical evacuees leave their homes immediately if instructed to do so by emergency officials. Evacuees are encouraged to seek shelter with friends or family or outside evacuation zones when possible.

To avoid being trapped by flooded roads, washed-out bridges or disruptions to mass transportation, evacuees should plan their mode of transportation with special care.

Plan to use mass transit as much as possible, as it offers the fastest way to reach your destination. Using mass transit reduces the volume of evacuees on the roadways, reducing the risk of dangerous and time-consuming traffic delays.

Listen carefully to your local news media, which will broadcast reports about weather and transportation conditions.

Evacuations from at-risk zones will be phased to encourage residents in coastal areas to leave their homes before inland residents and to help ensure an orderly evacuation process.

Leave early. Evacuations will need to be completed before winds and flooding become a threat, because wind and heavy rain could force the early closure of key transportation routes, like bridges and tunnels.

The City advises against car travel during an evacuation. The City will be working hard to keep roads clear, but traffic is unavoidable in any evacuation. Driving will increase your risk of becoming stranded on a roadway during an evacuation.

IF YOU MUST TAKE A CAR:  Be ready for a long, slow trip. Be aware the City will deploy public safety personnel along major transportation routes to help vehicular traffic flow as smoothly as possible. Have a full gas tank before you go.

Stay tuned to local media for information about road and bridge closures.

Evacuation Centers are the ONLY places where people may park vehicles. Many evacuation centers do NOT have parking available. Tune in to local media for instructions.

Large vehicles may be prohibited in windy conditions. This could apply to trailers, trucks, boats and other vehicles with a higher wind profile than a car or SUV.

In any significant rainstorm, avoid driving through standing water if you cannot tell how deep it is.

If you must go to an evacuation center, it is important to carefully select what you take with you. Do not bring more than you can carry, but be sure to bring your go bag with you. (Click to find out how to put a go bag together.)

MORE RESOURCES

Click on these items for more essential information from OEM and the Red Cross about dealing with disasters.

>Household Disaster Plan

>Coastal Storm Basics

>Hurricane Safety Tips

>Flood Safety Guide

>Emergency Kits

NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE

View resources from the National Weather Service, including weather alerts by county in these four states (click on state name):

>New York

>New Jersey

>Connecticut

>Pennsylvania

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