The purpose of this webpage is to provide resources to emergency managers and public safety officials in Massachusetts related to hurricane planning, preparedness, and response.
Hurricane Evacuation Maps Hurricane Inundation Maps National Hurricane Center Storm Surge Maps Mass Care Shelter Coordination Plan & Toolkit Evacuation Study Reports Cape Cod Emergency Traffic Plan Debris Management Information Hurricane Preparedness Tips for the Public
The US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) recently completed DRAFT hurricane evacuation zone maps for Massachusetts coastal communities for the 2013 hurricane season, based on Hurricane Inundation Maps (see below). These Hurricane Evacuation Maps can be used as a resource for local evacuation decision-making during hurricanes. These maps have been provided to local emergency management directors in electronic format, and local emergency management directors are also receiving hard copy maps that can be used to mark up changes to the zones for the 2014 hurricane season. In addition, MEMA has posted the draft hurricane evacuation maps on the Hurricane Evacuation Zones webpage for the public to view. Should you have any issues locating the maps, please contact your MEMA regional office.
If you are a local emergency management director, when you receive the hard copy of your community’s map, please review the proposed hurricane evacuation zones. Please let MEMA know if there are areas typically threatened during Hurricane events that are not captured in the proposed Evacuation Zones. We also welcome information about key facilities and transportation points, but we are most interested in capturing any additional hurricane inundation areas in your community. Your feedback on your community’s proposed zones should be provided to MEMA no later than January 31st, 2014. Comments should be directed to Ms. Anna Sobiewska, MEMA GIS Coordinator at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at (508) 820-2011.
Once MEMA receives comments back on the draft Evacuation Zone maps, USACE will finalize them in the winter/spring of 2014 and provide MEMA and communities with updated final hurricane evacuation zone maps. MEMA will then distribute electronic and hard copies of the maps to each community. We will use these Final Evacuation Zone maps during the 2014 hurricane season and future seasons.
The US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) has updated hurricane inundation maps for coastal communities in Massachusetts as part of an update to the New England Hurricane Evacuation Study. These maps are created using a Sea, Lake and Overland Surges from Hurricanes (SLOSH) model developed by the National Weather Service (NWS) to estimate potential storm surge for Category 1-4 hurricanes.
Emergency managers and public safety officials in communities along the coast or in communities with waterways connecting to the ocean should view their respective Hurricane Inundation Maps to determine potential inundation areas. You should also use this information to inform your community of potential risk and for preparedness and emergency planning efforts, including the need for evacuations (in conjunction with above Hurricane Evacuation Maps).
Beginning with the 2014 Atlantic hurricane season, NOAA’s National Hurricane Center (NHC) will issue the Potential Storm Surge Flooding Map for those areas along the Gulf and Atlantic coasts of the United States at risk of storm surge from a tropical cyclone. This new map will show geographical areas where inundation from storm surge could occur and how high above the ground water could reach in those areas. The map will be part of an interactive display made available on the NHC website (www.hurricanes.gov) in situations where hurricane watches and warning are in effect for portions of the continental U.S. To learn more about these new storm surge maps and their issuance, please read the following release from the NHC on Storm Surge Maps.
Although storm surge is often the greatest threat to life and property from a tropical storm or hurricane, many people do not understand this term or the threat it represents to them. For more information about storm surge risk visit the NHC Storm Surge Resources webpage. The NHC has also produced a Potential Storm Surge Flooding - Tips for Emergency Managers document for emergency managers to understand the new maps and communicate with the residents in their communities.
The recently completed Statewide Mass Care Shelter Coordination Plan and Local Shelter Toolkit were developed over the past year through a collaborative process with both local and state level stakeholders with the goal of more effectively supporting local, regional, and statewide shelter planning and response, including the needs of all of our population. While sheltering in Massachusetts starts at the local level and is driven by local needs, this plan sets forth a common vision and guiding principles to improve shelter coordination, support, and information sharing across the Commonwealth. The plan describes local mass care and shelter options that communities may provide such as personal care sites (warming or cooling centers), locally-initiated overnight shelters, and locally-initiated multi-community (or regional) shelters. The coordination plan also introduces the concept of State Initiated Regional Shelters, or SIRS. Visit the Massachusetts Statewide Mass Care Shelter Coordination Plan webpage to download the plan and the toolkit.
The following reports are evacuation study and report files. Please note that some of these are in the process of being updated and will be provided here when they are available.
- Hurricane Evacuation Behavioral Assumptions for Massachusetts
- Southern Massachusetts Hurricane Evacuation Study Technical Data Report - Part 1 file size 4MB
- Southern Massachusetts Hurricane Evacuation Study Technical Data Report - Part 2 file size 2MB
- Southern Massachusetts Hurricane Evacuation Study Technical Data Report - Part 3 file size 4MB
The Cape Cod Emergency Traffic Plan (CCETP) has been developed to facilitate the egress of a high volume of traffic from Cape Cod in the event of a hurricane or other potential high hazards, particularly during peak tourist season. It is important to emphasize that this is NOT an evacuation plan. Although there are a number of areas of the Cape that would evacuate from low-lying, flood prone areas to higher ground, many of these individuals would access local shelters and not necessarily leave the Cape. During the summer season however, (particularly the holiday weekends) most tourists will attempt to leave the Cape if a serious hurricane is predicted. The Plan is a tool that can be used to assist expediting traffic flow regardless of the hazard and should be looked upon in all-hazard scenarios. Visit the Cape Cod Emergency Traffic Plan webpage to learn more and see the full plan.
- Guidance for Snow Debris Operations - February 2013 (note this covers ALL debris operations, not just snow debris)
- Disaster Debris Management Planning: An Introduction for Local Government Officials
- Commonwealth Of Massachusetts All Hazards Disaster Debris Management Plan
- Commonwealth Of Massachusetts All Hazards Disaster Debris Management Plan Appendices
- For additional information related to public assistance and related policies, see MEMA's Public Assistance webpage.
MEMA's Hurricanes webpage has resources and tips for citizens to get hurricane preparedness information and tips. Please feel free to link to and share this material to help get your community more prepared for hurricanes.
National Hurricane Center Website: http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/