Hurricane Preparedness
Are you prepared for a Hurricane? Here's what you need to know.
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Hurricane Preparedness

Hurricane Season during the

COVID-19 pandemic



The COVID-19 pandemic will add additional challenges and changes to the 2020 hurricane season, which runs from June 1 through November 30.


Prepare: What else will you need?


    • Be sure to include additional supplies in your emergency kit to stay healthy: masks, hand sanitizer, cleaning products, sanitizing wipes.
    • Visit to learn how to create a family emergency plan and build your emergency supplies kit


Plan: Where will you go?


    • Make a plan to stay with family or friends at a safe place inland, or at a hotel if you need to evacuate.
    • Staying at a storm shelter is not a good option during the COVID-19 pandemic and should only be considered as a last resort.
    • Staying with family, friends, or at a hotel will reduce the chances of you being exposed to, or transmitting the COVID-19 virus.




    • Make a plan to stay with family or friends at a safe place inland, or at a hotel if you need to evacuate.
    • Social distancing will reduce the capacity at shelters this year. Shelter space in many counties will be limited and should be only considered as a last resort.
    • Non-congregate sheltering options like dormitories, campgrounds or other facilities where people can maintain distance may be in use during the COVID-19 pandemic. Follow your local government website and social media channels for sheltering information.
    • Shelters may not offer cots for sleeping, only safe refuge until a storm passes. Plan to bring your own amenities like food and bedding.


If you must go to a shelter, follow the CDC guidance to lower the risk of spreading infection:


    • Practice social distancing. Stay at least 6 feet (about 2 arms’ length) from other people outside of your household.
    • Wash your hands often, cover coughs and sneezes, and follow shelter policies for wearing cloth face coverings. Avoid sharing food and drink with anyone if possible.
    • Follow disaster shelter policies and procedures designed to protect everyone in the shelter, particularly older adults (65 and older) and people of any age who have serious underlying medical conditions. These people are at higher risk for severe illness from COVID-19.
    • Avoid touching high-touch surfaces, such as handrails, as much as possible. If not possible, wash hands or use hand sanitizers immediately after you touch these surfaces.
    • Keep your living area clean and disinfect frequently-touched items such as toys, cellphones, and other electronics.
    • If you feel sick when you arrive at the shelter or start to feel sick while sheltering, tell shelter staff immediately.


Stay Informed: Who has reliable information?


    • Visit to learn about local hazards that could impact your area.
    • Register for emergency alerts from your local government.
    • Follow your local government social media channels.
    • Subscribe to National Weather Service updates.
    • Follow North Carolina Emergency Management on Twitter and Facebook




    • Protecting yourself from the physical dangers of a hurricane, like storm surge, flooding and high winds, takes priority over concerns about COVID-19.
    • If your area is ordered to evacuate – do so quickly and calmly. Don’t forget your emergency kit.
    • If you live in a coastal community be sure to Know Your Zone. Find out if you live in a predetermined coastal evacuation zone. Learn more at Many coastal counties will use these new zones to order evacuations
    • Take time now to review your evacuation routes. Plan for a primary route, and an alternate.


Know Your ZOne

For more information on current activity, visit

Hurricane Checklist


Make a Disaster Kit


Prepare for the storm by creating a Disaster Kit or making an emergency plan.


Store items in airtight plastic bags and put your entire disaster supplies kit in one or two easy-to-carry containers such as plastic bins or a duffel bag. Make sure all family members know where the kit is kept. In case you are stranded, keep a kit of emergency supplies in your car.


Some items to prepare are:


    • Water: Buy plenty of bottled water to keep on hand or fill your own bottles. One gallon of water per person per day for at least three days, for drinking and sanitation.
    • Food: Stock up on nonperishable food such as canned foods, peanut butter, granola bars. At least a three-day supply of non-perishable food. Be sure to have a manual can opener as well.
    • Food Prep: Keep Charcoal, Wood (for the fireplace) or Gas (for a gas grill) on hand in case of power outages.
    • Ice: Freeze a gallon jug of water to keep your refrigerator or freezer cool in the case of a power outage. Can’t find water jugs? Fill gallon ziplock bags and freeze them. Not only will your food stay cool, you can drink the water too!
    • Clothing and Bedding: Remember that your air conditioner or furnace may be out if the power is out. Have appropriate clothing and bedding available for high or low temperatures.
    • First Aid Kit: Make sure your First Aid Kit is easily accessible and stocked.
    • Batteries: Stock up on batteries for radios and flashlights.
    • Flashlights and Matches
    • Radio: Battery-powered or hand-crank radio and a NOAA Weather Radio with tone alert.
    • Whistle: To signal for help.
    • Tools: Wrench or Pliers to turn off utilities
    • Medications: Have prescription medications available. Gather non-prescription medications such as pain relievers, anti-diarrhea medication, antacids or laxatives as well.


Learn more on Disaster Kits via or via NC Disaster Information Center

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More Hurricane Resources!


NC 2-1-1:


All NC residents can dial 2-1-1 to reach a trained call specialist who can help them find shelters and learn evacuation routes, find help with storm clean-up, locate food, water and ice, learn about volunteer needs and more. The service is available 24/7 and is available in English and Spanish. Visit


Ready NC:


Visit for information on how to prepare for the storm. Download their free app to learn weather conditions, traffic conditions, shelters, evacuations, and more.


Hurricane Resources:


Road Closures:


Power Outage Information:

Get important contact information for power companies across North Carolina.



    • DHHS: View open shelters
    • FEMA: Find shelters (once they have opened) by texting “SHELTER” and a zip code to 4FEMA (43362).
      For example, for the Wilmington, N.C. area you would text to 43362: SHELTER 28401 (Wilmington’s zip code).
    • Red Cross Shelters: View a list at
    • Orange County: Residents can text OCStorm to 888-777 to get updates about shelters, road closures and more.