Hurricane season lasts from June 1st to November 30th, although New England is most at risk for hurricanes and tropical storms during August, September, and October. Although the Fox Point Hurricane Barrier has significantly reduced the risk of flooding within Providence, a powerful hurricane is the natural hazard that poses the highest risk to the city.
Hurricanes and tropical storms create dangers that include high winds, heavy rain, tornadoes, flooding, and power outages. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it is more important now than ever to prepare for hurricane season. You should know if you live in an evacuation area and know your home’s vulnerability to storm surge, flooding, and wind. Use this knowledge to create a plan of where you will shelter during a storm, such as at home or with friends or family.
Understand Your Flood Risk
Flooding the most common and costly hazard in New England and certain parts of Providence are more likely to flood than others. Learn about your home or business’ flood risk with the following resources:
- Find out whether your property is in a flood-prone or high-risk area using the Rhode Island Floodplain Viewer.
- Additional resources on floodplain mapping are available from the Rhode Island Emergency Management Agency.
Know Where to Seek Shelter
If a storm comes and a mandatory evacuation is not ordered for your location, decide whether to shelter in place or seek shelter elsewhere.
- Gather what you’ll need to shelter in place or evacuate ahead of time.
- Know if you live in a pre-designated hurricane evacuation zone.
- Prepare for water and power outages.
- Make a plan ahead of time of where to seek shelter: Will you stay with family or friends? Will you go to a shelter if they are open?
- Sign up for CodeRED and monitor local media to know what shelters will be open.
- Refer to our storm cleanup information for guidelines and contact information on how to report and clean up downed trees and damaged property.
- Refer to our power outages information on how to report and check the status of an outage.
Tropical weather begins with a low-pressure area of circulating winds over water. A system can develop into a:
Tropical depression: winds of 38 miles per hour (mph) or less
Tropical storm: winds between 39 and 73 mph
Hurricane: winds of 74 mph or more. Hurricanes are given a category—1 through 5—based on wind speed. The higher the winds, the higher the category.
Hurricane and Tropical Storm Watches and Warnings
The National Weather Service issues tropical storm and hurricane watches and warnings to alert the public of potential hazardous conditions. It is important to understand the difference between a watch and a warning so you know what to do to stay safe.
Hurricane and Tropical Storm Watch – Initiate your family’s disaster plan and protective measures, especially those actions that require extra time, such as securing a boat.
Hurricane Watch: Hurricane conditions are possible within 48 hours.
Tropical Storm Watch: Tropical storm conditions are possible within 48 hours.
Hurricane and Tropical Storm Warning – Complete protective actions and decide on the safest location to shelter during the storm.
Hurricane Warning: sustained winds of at least 74 mph are expected within 36 hours or less.
Tropical Storm Warning: sustained winds of 39 to 74 mph are expected within 36 hours or less.