Hurricane Season - The portion of the year having a relatively high incidence of hurricanes. The hurricane season in the Atlantic, Caribbean, and Gulf of Mexico runs from June 1 to November 30. National Hurricane center website

Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Scale - Hurricanes are categorized according to the strength of their winds.

  • Tropical Storm — winds 39-73 mph
  • Category 1 Hurricane — winds 74-95 mph
  • Category 2 Hurricane — winds 96-110 mph
  • Category 3 Hurricane — winds 111-130 mph
  • Category 4 Hurricane — winds 131-155 mph
  • Category 5 Hurricane — winds 156 mph and up

Hurricane Watch - An announcement for specific coastal areas that hurricane conditions are possible within 36 hours.

Hurricane Warning - A warning that sustained winds 74 mph or higher associated with a hurricane are expected in a specified coastal area in 24 hours or less. A hurricane warning can remain in effect when dangerously high water or a combination of dangerously high water and exceptionally high waves continue, even though winds may be less than hurricane force.

Storm Surge - The greatest potential for loss of life related to a hurricane is from the storm surge.

Tropical Storm - A tropical cyclone in which the maximum sustained surface wind speed (using the U.S. 1-minute average) ranges from 39 mph to 73 mph.

Tropical Depression - A tropical cyclone in which the maximum sustained surface wind speed (using the U.S. 1-minute average) is 38 mph or less.

Hurricane Emergency Checklist

Preparation is key to surviving a hurricane, or any unexpected disaster. By properly preparing, you can minimize the damage to your property and increase you and your family’s chances for survival. The following checklist will provide some basic guidelines to help you protect your home and family in an emergency.

Emergency Checklist

Before the Storm:

  • Make a Family Disaster Plan and practice it.
  • Learn the local storm history and find out if your home is vulnerable to flooding.
  • Know whether you are in a mandatory evacuation zone.
  • Plan for evacuation. Learn local procedures for exiting and returning.
  • Identify sheltering options – contact friends, family hotels, and public shelters.
  • Pre-register for a Special Needs Shelter if applicable.
  • Designate an out-of-state family or friend as a contact.
  • Make a plan for your pets if you will evacuate your home. Shelters do not accept pets.
  • Check your insurance coverage to determine whether flood damage is covered by you homeowners insurance.
  • Assemble emergency supplies and personal papers and store them in a dry, safe place.
  • Monitor news and weather reports.
  • Prepare your property for storm conditions.
  • Prepare a Disaster Supply Kit:
    • A minimum of a three-day supply of water – one gallon per person, per day (additional water will be needed for family pets)
    • Ready-to-eat canned, non-perishable food items and a manual can opener
    • Flashlight and extra batteries
    • Portable, battery-operated radio (preferable a NOAA weather radio) and extra batteries
    • Important personal and family documents
    • First aid kit
    • Change of clothes and sturdy shoes
    • Bedding
    • Prescription medications – make sure they are filled

Identification or required identification to return home if evacuated During the Storm

  • Stay inside in an interior room away from windows, unless you have been ordered to evacuate.
  • Stay tuned to local radio or television for information from local officials.
  • Do not go out in the calm of the storm when the eye is passing. The back side of the storm will soon follow.
  • Wait for the “all clear” from local officials before going outside.

After the Storm:

  • If you evacuated, do not return until authorized by local officials.
  • Be careful of hazards caused by the storm such as downed power lines or standing puddles of water.
  • If a precautionary boil water notice is issued, boil water for a minimum of one minute or use bottled or stored water from your disaster supply kit. Officials will provide notification when the precautionary boil water notice is lifted.
  • Do not eat food that could be contaminated or spoiled.
  • Do not use candles as a light source. Fires can result.
  • Stay alert for information on how and where to apply for assistance.
  • Contact your insurance company to report property damage.

All Departments within the City of Haverhill are prepared for an efficient unified response to the effects of a hurricane.  The City of Haverhill Emergency Operations Center (EOC) procedures, supplies, and resources are reviewed throughout the year to ensure our residents will get the best possible service in the event of an emergency.  All City Departments are committed to the execution of a rapid quality response during the aftermath of an emergency.