Disasters can happen anytime, anywhere, and when disaster strikes, you may not have much time to respond. Depending on the disaster - a hurricane, winter storm, or hazardous material spill - you could be confined to your home without water and electricity for days, or you may be asked to evacuate the area.

Before, during, and after a disaster, local officials and relief volunteers will be working hard to keep people safe. However, they may not be able to reach everyone quickly, so it is important to plan ahead before disaster strikes. Here are some steps you can take to make sure you are prepared for an emergency.

Create an emergency plan, including plans for evacuation or sheltering in place.

  • Purchase or renew a flood insurance policy.  Homeowner's insurance policies do not cover flooding and they do not cover personal property if you are a renter.  It typically takes up to 30 days for a policy to go into effect. 
  • Identify your flood zone - check the NC flood maps, NC Know Your Zone, New Hanover County Flood Zones Map, and visit FEMA's Flood Map Service Center for more information. Remember that anywhere it rains, it could flood.  Some areas are more prone to flooding than others, but everywhere could have to deal with flooding. 
  • Become familiar with your evacuation zone, evacuation routes, and shelter locations.
  • If you have special medical or functional needs that would place you at higher risk during an emergency event, you are strongly encouraged to sign up for the Access and Functional Needs Registry via this link.
  • Protect your property - keep drains and gutters clear, install check valves in plumbing to prevent backups, consider hurricane shutters, and review insurance policies. Learn more about protecting your property from flood damage.
  • Have a way to get emergency alerts. Sign up for alerts here, download a weather app from the Apple App Store or Google Play, or purchase a weather radio from any retailer.

Flooding During Hurricane Season

Although we plan for flooding all year, tropical weather flooding is unique.  Our chances of tropical weather-related flooding increases between June 1 and November 30 every year, although we can see large storms that cause widespread flooding and damage any time of the year. You may not feel safe in your home or there may be evacuations directed by local emergency management officials.  It is important to plan ahead so you'll know where to go in times of crisis. 

  • Identify a safe place to go inland, like a hotel or friend or family member's home safer than your own. 
  • Consider ways to safely expand your circle of interaction to have a safe place to go to and have plans to stay well including considering social distancing, choosing to wear a mask in congregate sheltering environments.
  • Because of limited space, if you must come to a County emergency shelter site, bring only the resources that are directed like bedding, electrical chargers, etc.

Visit and for more information on emergency preparedness.