Under New York State law, the mayor has the power to declare a local state of emergency. This might include issuing evacuation instructions for one or more hurricane evacuation zones.
Deciding to issue evacuation instructions requires in-depth analysis of storm forecasts and local conditions.
Find out if you live in a hurricane evacuation zone
The Mayor can issue two different kinds of evacuation instructions:
If the City issues an evacuation order for your area, do so as directed. The City will communicate through local media specific instructions about which areas of the city should evacuate. If a mandatory evacuation is issued, do so as directed. Use public transportation if possible, keeping in mind that public transportation may shut down hours before the storm. For additional information about how to evacuate, including transportation options, please contact 311 (212-639-9675 for Video Relay Service, or TTY: 212-504-4115).
- EVACUATION RECOMMENDATION: The Mayor may recommend certain residents take steps to evacuate voluntarily. A recommendation might be issued to cover residents of certain zones, communities or building types. An evacuation recommendation could also be issued for the benefit of people with mobility challenges who need extra time to evacuate.
- EVACUATION ORDER: The Mayor may order residents of specific zones or communities to leave their homes for the protection of their health and welfare in the event of an approaching storm.
How to Evacuate
Since flooding and high winds can occur many hours before a hurricane makes landfall, evacuees should leave their homes immediately if instructed to do so by emergency officials. Evacuees are strongly encouraged to seek shelter with friends or family or outside evacuation zones.
Evacuees should plan their mode of transportation with special care and take the following steps:
The City advises against car travel during an evacuation. The City will be working hard to keep roads clear, but traffic is unavoidable in any evacuation. Driving will increase your risk of becoming stranded on a roadway during an evacuation.
- Plan to use mass transit as much as possible, as it offers the fastest way to reach your destination. Using mass transit reduces the volume of evacuees on the roadways, reducing the risk of dangerous and time-consuming traffic delays. Please note that public transportation may shut down hours before the storm.
- Listen carefully to local news media, which will broadcast reports about weather and transportation conditions.
- Evacuations from at-risk zones will be phased to encourage residents in coastal areas to leave their homes before inland residents and to help ensure an orderly evacuation process.
- Leave early. Hazards like strong winds, heavy rain, and flooding may force the early closure of roads, bridges, and tunnels.
- Allow additional travel time and consider your transportation, dietary, and medical needs (oxygen, extra batteries/chargers, eyeglasses, prescriptions, etc.). Bring all medications with you and have contact information for your health providers written down.
IF YOU MUST TAKE A CAR:
If you must go to an evacuation center, it is important to carefully select what you take with you. Do not bring more than you can carry, but be sure to bring your Go Bag with you.
- Be ready for a long, slow trip. Be aware the City will deploy public safety personnel along major transportation routes to help vehicular traffic flow as smoothly as possible. Have a full gas tank before you go.
- Stay tuned to local media for information about road and bridge closures. New York State's 511 can help you monitor traffic on State roads.
- Evacuation centers are the ONLY places where people may park vehicles. Many evacuation centers do NOT have parking available.
- Large vehicles may be prohibited in windy conditions. This could apply to trailers, trucks, boats and other vehicles with a higher wind profile than a car or SUV.
- In any significant rainstorm, avoid driving through standing water.
For Residents of High-Rise Buildings and Basements
Residents of high-rise apartment buildings may face special risks from hurricanes even if they live safely outside evacuation zone boundaries.
*Evacuation information is subject to change. For the latest information, visit NYC.gov or call 311 (212-639-9675 for Video Relay Service, or TTY : 212-504-4115). Visit the MTA's website at www.mta.info or call 511 for the latest transit information. If you need assistance evacuating during an emergency, please call 311.
- IF YOU LIVE IN A HIGH-RISE BUILDING LOCATED IN AN EVACUATION ZONE, heed all storm warnings and evacuation orders.
- IF YOU LIVE IN A HIGH-RISE BUILDING THAT IS OUTSIDE EVACUATION ZONE BOUNDARIES: if you live in a high-rise building, especially on the 10th floor or above, stay away from windows in case they break or shatter. Or, move to a lower floor. Be aware of your building's evacuation plan. Read OSHA's tips for Evacuating High-Rise Buildings (in PDF)
- IF YOU LIVE IN A BASEMENT, Basement apartment residents may face additional risks from hurricanes even if they live outside evacuation zone boundaries. Many areas of the city can experience rainfall flooding. If you live in a basement apartment, be prepared to take shelter above ground.
Evacuation Centers and Sheltering
The City strongly recommends evacuees stay with friends or family who live outside evacuation zones. For those who have no other shelter, the City will open evacuation centers and shelters throughout the five boroughs.
All evacuees will be accepted, and evacuees will not be asked about their immigration status at any New York City evacuation center or shelter.
The City will ask all evacuees seeking public shelter to report to an evacuation center. These centers are located in all boroughs, are easily reached via public transportation. Some centers provide parking facilities.
Evacuation centers include accessible facilities and accommodations for people with disabilities and access and functional needs.*
To find out the location of your nearest evacuation center, use NYC Emergency Management's Hurricane Evacuation Zone Finder.
If you are going to an evacuation center, pack lightly, and bring:
If You Have a Pet or Service Animal
- Your Go Bag
- Sleeping bag or bedding
- At least a week's supply of any medication (if possible), medical supplies, or medical equipment you use regularly
If you cannot shelter your pet at a kennel or with friends or relatives outside the evacuation area, pets are allowed at all City evacuation centers. Please bring supplies to care for your pet or service animal, including food, leashes, a carrier, and medication.
Learn more about emergency preparedness for pets
*Information on evacuation centers, including accessibility features, is subject to change. Please visit the Hurricane Evacuation Zone Finder or contact 311 for updated reports on building status and accessibility features.