New York City's hurricane contingency plans are based on six evacuation zones.* Hurricane evacuation zones are areas of the city that may be inundated by storm surge or isolated by storm surge waters. There are six 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.
New Yorkers should find out if their homes, offices or schools fall within the boundaries of a city evacuation zone. The best way to be prepared for the possibility of a hurricane evacuation is to know your evacuation zone and plan your destination and travel routes ahead of time.
To find out if you live in a hurricane evacuation zone, use the Hurricane Evacuation Zone Finder, or call 311. Zones are color-coded and labeled 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, and 6 when represented on a map.
*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.
Hurricane evacuation zones should not be confused with flood insurance risk zones, which are designated by FEMA and available in the form of Flood Insurance Rate Maps (FIRMs). You can determine whether you live in a flood insurance risk zone by calling the Department of City Planning at 311.
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).
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:
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.
Depending on your need, you will either be taken to:
You may not be able to request transportation to a specific address.
Specific instructions about which areas of the City should be evacuated will be communicated through various channels. If you live or are staying in an evacuation zone and your zone is ordered to evacuate, leave as soon as you can.
Use public transportation to evacuate if possible. When considering your transportation route, be aware that public transportation, including MTA's Access-A-Ride, may shut down hours before the storm arrives.
Residents of high-rise apartment buildings may face special risks from hurricanes even if they live safely outside evacuation zone boundaries. If you live in a high-rise building, make sure your windows are closed, stay away from windows in case they break or shatter.
*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.
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 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 throughout the five boroughs. These centers are located in all boroughs, are easily reached via public transportation.
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 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 information about a particular facility and updated reports on building status and accessibility features.
Watch the video below for information about staying in evacuation centers (presented in American Sign Language).