Know Your Zone is your destination for everything you need to know about hurricanes in New York City. You'll find information about the city's hurricane evacuation zones, the hazards you may face from a hurricane, and what to do to prepare. #knowyourzone

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Frequently Asked Questions

What are hurricane evacuation zones?

There are six hurricane evacuation zones, ranked by the risk of storm surge impact, with zone 1 being the most likely to flood. In the event of a hurricane or tropical storm, residents in these zones may be ordered to evacuate.

I noticed that my zone has changed. Why is that?

In 2013, the City changed the hurricane evacuation zones from A, B, and C, to zones 1 through 6 (with zone 1 being the most likely to flood). The increased number of zones provide the City with more flexibility in targeting areas to evacuate in advance of a predicted storm (making it less likely to over- or under-evacuate areas). What's more, the new zones incorporate newly available data, including a new storm surge model from the National Weather Service, topographic data, and information from actual events such as Hurricane Irene and Hurricane Sandy, so that the City can more accurately delineate areas most at risk of flooding due to storm surge from a hurricane.

What should I do to prepare for a storm?

Read the Ready New York: Hurricanes and New York City guide or visit the OEM website for tips and information on what to do before a storm, in the event of an approaching storm, and if the City issues an evacuation order. You can also sign up for Notify NYC to receive emergency information by email, text message, phone, or Twitter. Register for free to receive Notify NYC notifications or follow @NotifyNYC on Twitter.

What are the hurricane hazards?

No storm combines duration, size, and wind speed more destructively than a hurricane. New York City's geography makes it especially vulnerable to wind and flooding. With sustained winds of more than 74 mph, hurricanes can flatten homes, topple trees and turn loose objects into deadly projectiles. The storm's driving winds and torrential rains can cause massive and dangerous flooding in low-lying and poor-drainage areas. However, storm surge — the dome of seawater pushed forward by the oncoming storm — is the most serious hurricane-related hazard.

What should I do if I have special needs?

Everyone should have a plan that outlines what to do, how to find each other, and how to communicate if a hurricane strikes New York. Make sure that your preparedness plan addresses how your special needs affect your ability to evacuate or shelter in place, and communicate with emergency workers. Consider your unique transportation needs, dietary needs, and special medical needs in the event you need to evacuate or ride out a storm at home.

Are FEMA's flood zones different from hurricane evacuation zones?

FEMA's Flood Insurance Rate Maps (FIRM) are regulatory maps developed for the National Flood Insurance Program. The FIRMs are used to set flood insurance rates and building regulations. Residents should not use the FIRM zones to determine the need to evacuate. The City will determine which of the hurricane evacuation zones (from zone 1 up through zone 6) should be evacuated based on the characteristics of an actual storm as it is approaching the city. Get more information on the FIRMs and related efforts in New York.