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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!


Winter Storm Jonas hits Cape May

Outside, it’s soggy, with temperatures above freezing, partially melting the snow that fell yesterday. The sky is solid gray. Winter Storm Jonas is blowing through New Jersey, flooding nearby barrier islands, and its wind gusts have knocked out power in parts of Cape May County.

Cape May experienced some flooding this morning during high tide, around 7:30am, but our three staff members who live on the island haven’t been forced to leave home (in fact, they have plans to meet at the C-View). There will likely be more flooding tonight at high tide. Bernie ventured out into the wind and took these photographs along Beach Avenue this afternoon.

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After the nor’easter

On my drive down Seashore Road to work this morning, I saw the sun this morning for the first time in four days. It was a little reminiscent of the feeling on Christmas morning, having spent the last three days holed up with my dogs, listening to the wind shake my house. I always like the sun best after a nor’easter.

This most recent storm, which began late Thursday and ended early Sunday, downed branches and trees in the country and caused flooding in Wildwood and other barrier islands. A house in Grassy Sound collapsed into the water. Cape May came through the storm fine, with some flooding that closed Bank and Elmira streets, but we’re drying out today, just a little breezy. The sun is peeking through the leaves on the church next to our office as I type this, and Hurricane Joaquin is curving out to sea.

Kate captured these images on Cape May’s beach this weekend.

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Winter Storm Janus

Yesterday’s storm was more windy than snowy for us here in Cape May. While the snow fell all around us on the map, we watched a handful of snowflakes blow around the rooftops. But we finally did get a few more flakes, and Michelle went out this morning to take these photos for you.


Hurricane Sandy hits Cape May

Pre-hurricane photo taken October 28, 2012

10/29/12

Hurricane Sandy is poised to strike Cape May today with wind gusts up to 70mph and destructive waves continuing into Tuesday with heavy coastal flooding. Cape May, the barrier islands along the Jersey Shore, and coastal communities along the Delaware Bay have been evacuated.

4:30pm: Sandy is 55 MI ESE of Cape May, NJ. [source: The Weather Channel]

5:00 pm: Sandy is still a hurricane, about 30 miles offshore. The storm “might just miss Cape May” and go into the Delaware Bay, but we will be in the hurricane circulation. [source: The Weather Channel]

10/30/12

Superstorm Sandy has passed, leaving Cape May sandy and soggy, but still standing. Check our Facebook page for updates on area businesses.

Photo Gallery: Aftermath of Sandy