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Storm Safety Guide: A Q&A on Preparing for Hurricanes on Vacation

Images from Superstorm Sandy / CapeMay.com

With all of this wild weather lately, we want to equip all of Cape May’s fall and winter tourists with helpful information on what to do in the event of a big storm or hurricane. Keep your family safe and sound while on vacation by using our tips below to prep for bad weather.

We answer five common questions about hurricanes and provide resources for finding out more about New Jersey’s tropical storms and precautions to take when dealing with them.

What defines a hurricane?

According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, a hurricane is a type of tropical cyclone that forms over tropical or subtropical waters. When a tropical storm’s winds reach 74 mph or higher, it is classified as a hurricane. A hurricane’s maximum winds are rated 1 through 5 by weather experts; the higher the rating, the greater the storm’s potential for property damage.

When is the Atlantic hurricane season?

The Atlantic hurricane season technically starts on June 1st, and comes to an end on November 30. However, tropical storms or hurricanes can develop outside of that timeframe. Tune in to our local news stations (Cape May’s 6ABC Action News is a great resource) to stay updated on upcoming storms.

What can I do to prepare for a hurricane on vacation?

New Jersey’s Office of Emergency Management recommends creating a kit of safety and emergency supplies. Items may include:

  • Battery operated radio and extra batteries
  • Flashlight(s)
  • Personal toiletries
  • First aid kit
  • Important medications

For a full list of what to put in your emergency kit, click here.

Make a plan with your family about what to do during a storm: have a predetermined meeting place, note the quickest ways to leave your beach house and get everyone to safety, and make sure to have an out-of-state contact your family can check in with and stay with should the hurricane become dangerous. Review these plans your family and practice any drills!

How will I know if it is time to evacuate?

Local county or state emergency management officials will notify Cape May neighborhoods of the need to evacuate via the Emergency Alert System messages on local radio and TV. Officials may also opt to alert areas via community notification systems such as “Reverse 911,” which sends messages to telephones.

What is Cape May’s evacuation route?

Click on this PDF here to see Cape May’s evacuation route; as you’ll see noted on there, you will follow blue circular signs that say “Coastal Evacuation Route” to safety. For a list of other New Jersey evacuation routes split up by county, please click here.

Please remember that all evacuation plans are flexible and could change based on the nature of an emergency. Rest assured though that when Cape May’s law enforcement send out the order to evacuate, they will provide specific information about the roads you should take; authorities will direct traffic and block roads that are hazardous.


Stay safe, readers! Does anyone have storm-preparation advice or practices they’ve used that have been successful in the past during hurricanes? Comment below!