"Know Your Zone"
If you live or work in one of Massachusetts’s coastal communities or near a river or other waterway that is connected to the ocean, you should are encouraged to "Know Your Zone" by knowing whether your home or business is in a pre-designated Hurricane Evacuation Zone. People who work or live in a Hurricane Evacuation Zone may be asked or ordered to evacuate their zone prior to a hurricane making landfall in the area. See map below for hurricane evacuation zones, Evacuation Zone A: Areas at risk during a Category 1 or 2 hurricane; Evacuation Zone B: Areas at risk during a Category 3 or 4 hurricane. (Please note: the maps for the cities of Cambridge and Boston and in the final stages of review and will be posted soon). These maps are designed to be tools for local public officials to make local evacuation decisions as a hurricane approaches and to provide critical information to citizens who work or live in areas that may need to be evacuated as a hurricane approaches. These maps are in draft format for the 2013 Hurricane Season and will be revised prior to the 2014 Hurricane Season. Updated maps will be posted when they are available.
If you live or work in an evacuation zone you should listen to local and state officials and weather forecasts before and during a hurricane for evacuation information. If evacuations are necessary, local and state officials may use the evacuation zones (Zone A or Zone B) to identify areas to be evacuated. If local or state officials call for an evacuation of a zone that you live in or work in, you should follow their directions and evacuate to a safe area. If you live or work in an evacuation zone, you should plan for and be prepared to evacuate during a hurricane as part of your emergency plan. To be safe, you should be prepared for hurricane impacts one category higher than the storm being forecast.
Evacuations during a hurricane may be necessary due to the danger and threat of storm surge. Storm surge is an abnormal rise of water generated by a storm, over and above the predicted astronomical tide. Storm surge is often the greatest threat to life and property from a hurricane and it poses a significant threat for drowning. Coastal areas are vulnerable to storm surge, including areas away from the immediate coastline. The destructive power of storm surge and large battering waves can result in loss of life, buildings destroyed, beach and dune erosion and road and bridge damage along the coast. Tropical storms, all categories of hurricanes, and post-tropical cyclones can all cause life-threatening storm surge. Learn more about storm surge at: http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/surge/.
For more information on how the hurricane evacuation zone maps were made (using hurricane inundation maps) and for PDF file formats of the maps by community and instructions please see the More Information About Hurricane Inundation and Evacuation Maps webpage. For more hurricane preparedness related information and tips, see MEMA’s Hurricanes webpage.
For emergency managers and public safety officials, see MEMA’s Hurricane Resources for Emergency Managers webpage for more information.