Coastal Storms & Hurricanes

Hurricane Evacuation

Hurricane Evacuation Zones

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.

Evacuation Information

TheUnder 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:

  • 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.

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).

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:

  • 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. Also, evacuate early if you rely on elevators to get out of your building. Elevators may be out of service and may not be available at all times.
  • 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.
  • 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.
    • 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.
    • Evacuation route signs point the way to high ground, away from coastal flooding. If you must evacuate, leave your home before storm conditions make roadways unsafe.
    • 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.

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.

Evacuation Transportation for People with Disabilities and Others with Access or Functional Needs

When the Mayor has issued an evacuation order due to a coastal storm or hurricane, people with disabilities or other access or functional needs, who have no other options to evacuate safely, can request transportation assistance.

Depending on your need, you will either be taken to:

  • An accessible evacuation center in an accessible vehicle, OR
  • A hospital outside of the evacuation zone via ambulance.

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.

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.

  • 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 outside of an evacuation zone, 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, you 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 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.

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.

Evacuation Centers

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:

  • 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
  • Toiletries

If You Have a Pet or Service Animal

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.