For Immediate Release - July 25, 2016

Know Your Hurricane Evacuation Zone

FRAMINGHAM, MA - If you live, work or plan to vacation in one of Massachusetts’s coastal communities or near a river or other waterway that is connected to the ocean, the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency (MEMA) encourages you to "Know Your Zone" by learning whether your home, business or vacation destination is in a pre-designated Hurricane Evacuation Zone.  People who reside, work or vacation in a Hurricane Evacuation Zone may be asked or ordered to evacuate prior to a hurricane or tropical storm making landfall.

Go to the “Know Your Zone” interactive map located on MEMA’s website at http://www.mass.gov/eopss/agencies/mema/emergencies/hurricanes/hurricane-evacuation-zones.html to find out if you live, work or will be vacationing in a Hurricane Evacuation Zone.

“Evacuations in advance of a hurricane or tropical storm making landfall may be necessary due to the danger and threat of storm surge,” states MEMA Director Kurt Schwartz. “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 or tropical storm.”

The destructive power of storm surge and large battering waves can result in loss of life, destroyed buildings, beach and dune erosion, and road and bridge damage along the coast. Tropical storms, all categories of hurricanes, and post-tropical cyclones can cause life-threatening and destructive storm surge along the coast and well inland. Learn more about storm surge at: http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/surge/.

Most coastal communities have two evacuation zones: Evacuation Zone A, which includes areas that are most at risk of flooding, and will flood first during tropical storms and less powerful hurricanes; and Evacuation Zone B, which includes areas that are at risk of flooding during more powerful storms. The cities of Boston and Cambridge also have designated a third zone: Evacuation Zone C, which may be used depending on the track and intensity of the storm.

If you live, work or vacation in an evacuation zone, you should listen closely to local and state officials and weather forecasts before and during a hurricane or tropical storm for evacuation information. If evacuations are necessary, local and state officials may use the evacuation zones (Zone A, B or C) to identify areas to be evacuated. 

If local or state officials call for an evacuation of your zone, you should follow their directions and evacuate to a safe area.  If you live, vacation or work in an evacuation zone, you should plan for, and be prepared to evacuate before a hurricane or tropical storm makes landfall. Guidelines on how to safely evacuation can be found at  http://www.mass.gov/eopss/agencies/mema/be-prepared/evacuation/.

The first step to preparing yourself, family, home and business is to learn more about the hazards associated with hurricanes and tropical storms, including storm surge, heavy rain, coastal erosion, inland flooding, and widespread power outages. For detailed information on these hazards, visit the Hurricane Safety Tips section of MEMA’s website, located at http://www.mass.gov/eopss/agencies/mema/emergencies/hurricanes/. To be safe, you should be prepared for hurricane impacts one category higher than the storm being forecast, and remember to include your evacuation plan in your overall family emergency plan.

 

MEMA is the state agency charged with ensuring the state is prepared to withstand, respond to, and recover from all types of emergencies and disasters, including natural hazards, accidents, deliberate attacks, and technological and infrastructure failures. MEMA's staff of professional planners, communications specialists and operations and support personnel is committed to an all hazards approach to emergency management. By building and sustaining effective partnerships with federal, state and local government agencies, and with the private sector - individuals, families, non-profits and businesses - MEMA ensures the Commonwealth's ability to rapidly recover from large and small disasters by assessing and mitigating threats and hazards, enhancing preparedness, ensuring effective response, and strengthening our capacity to rebuild and recover. For additional information about MEMA and Hurricane Preparedness, go to www.mass.gov/mema.

Continue to follow MEMA updates on Twitter at www.twitter.com/MassEMA; Facebook at www.facebook.com/MassachusettsEMA; and YouTube at www.youtube.com/MassachusettsEMA.

Massachusetts Alerts: to receive emergency information on your smartphone, including severe weather alerts from the National Weather Service and emergency information from MEMA, download the Massachusetts Alerts free app. To learn more about Massachusetts Alerts, and for information on how to download the free app onto your smartphone, visit: www.mass.gov/mema/mobileapp. 

-30-