What to Do During a Hurricane

Tips for staying safe during Hurricane Sandy's fierce winds.

Posted: 10/29/2012 10:58 AM EDT

Hurricane Sandy is upon us. Across the Eastern seaboard lawmakers have declared states of emergency in New York and New Jersey, mandatory evacuations have been ordered across parts of New York City and New Jersey. The National Weather Service's National Hurricane Center says Sandy is expected to bring life-threatening storm surges and coastal hurricane winds to the area.

Writes the Associated Press:

[Sandy's] projected path put New York City and Long Island in the danger zone for a huge surge of seawater made more fearsome by high tides and a full moon.

...

Because the storm is so big, with tropical storm-force winds extending almost 500 miles from its center, it could upend daily life for big cities and small towns alike across the Northeast — including Washington, Baltimore, Philadelphia, New York and Boston — and as far west as the Great Lakes. Up to 3 feet of snow was forecast for the West Virginia mountains.

Millions of people in the storm's path stayed home from work. Subways, buses and trains shut down, and more than 7,000 flights in and out of the East were canceled, snarling travel around the globe. Hundreds of thousands of people were under orders to flee the coast, including 375,000 in lower Manhattan and other parts of New York City, but authorities warned that the time to get out was short or already past.

With Hurricane Sandy in your area, Ready.gov recommends that you:

— Listen to the radio or TV for information.

— Secure your home, close storm shutters and secure outdoor objects or bring them indoors.

— Turn off utilities if instructed to do so. Otherwise, turn the refrigerator thermostat to its coldest setting and keep its doors closed.

— Turn off propane tanks.

— Avoid using the phone, except for serious emergencies.

— Moor your boat if time permits.

— Ensure a supply of water for sanitary purpose such as cleaning and flushing toilets. Fill the bathtub and other larger containers with water.

— Find out how to keep food safe during and after an emergency.

If you are directed by local authorities to do so. Be sure to follow their instructions.

— If you live in a mobile home or temporary structure – such shelters are particularly hazardous during a hurricane no matter how well fastened to the ground.

— If you live in a high-rise building – hurricane winds are stronger at higher elevations.

— If you live on the coast, on a floodplain, near a river, or on an island waterway, read more about evacuating yourself and your family. If you are unable to evacuate, go to your wind-safe room. If you do not have one, follow these guidelines:

— Stay indoors during the hurricane and away from windows and glass doors.

— Close all interior doors – secure and brace external doors.

— Keep curtains and blinds closed. Do not be fooled if there is a lull; it could be the eye of the storm – winds will pick up again.

— Take refuge in a small interior room, closet or hallway on the lowest level.

— Lie on the floor under a table or another sturdy object.

— Avoid elevators.

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(Photo:  NASA via Getty Images)

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