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Evacuation may be necessary during a hurricane or tropical storm due to risk of storm surge. Storm surge is an abnormal rise of water generated by a storm, over and above the predicted astronomical tide. The destructive power of storm surge and large battering waves is often the greatest threat to life and property during a storm, and can result in loss of life, destroyed buildings, beach and dune erosion, and road and bridge damage along the coast.
If you live, work, or plan to vacation in one of Massachusetts’s coastal communities, or near a river or other waterway connected to the ocean, you should "Know Your Zone." Use the interactive map below or the evacuation zone maps for your community to learn whether your home or business is in a pre- designated hurricane evacuation zone.
Zone A & B – These zones include areas that, depending on predicted inundation, may flood first from storm surge during a tropical storm or hurricane. Areas in Zone A would flood before areas in Zone B.
Zone C – The cities of Boston and Cambridge have designated a third zone, Zone C, which may flood depending on the track and intensity of the storm.
Note: The hurricane evacuation zones do not directly correspond to hurricane categories. Storm surge impact is not measured by the Saffir-Simpson hurricane category scale, and storm surge threats can vary from storm to storm.
If you live, work, or vacation in an evacuation zone, you should plan for, and be prepared to evacuate before a hurricane or tropical storm makes landfall. Listen closely to local and state officials and weather forecasts for evacuation information. Public safety officials may instruct residents in the evacuation zones to leave. If local or state officials call for an evacuation of your zone, you follow their directions and move to a safe area.
Hurricane evacuation zones should not be confused with flood insurance risk zones, which are designated by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and can be reviewed on flood insurance rate maps (FIRMs).