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U.S. Coast Guard urges preparedness for heavy weather as Hurricane Lee approaches New England

by U.S. Coast Guard 1st District Northeast 14 Sep 2023 00:22 UTC
A reminder from 2017's Hurricane Irma: All that is left of this sailboat is its mast entangled in a goalpost © BoatUS

The U.S. Coast Guard is actively monitoring and preparing for the impact of Hurricane Lee as it approaches the New England area. Our primary concern is the safety and well-being of the public, and we urge all residents and mariners in the region to take precautions to ensure their safety.

Safety Tips for the Public:

  • Stay Informed: Stay updated with the latest weather forecasts and advisories. Monitor the National Hurricane Center and local news for information on Hurricane Lee's track and intensity.
  • Prepare an Emergency Kit: Assemble an emergency kit with essential supplies, including non-perishable food, water, flashlight, batteries, a first-aid kit, essential documents, and any necessary medications. Be sure to include items for your pets, if applicable.
  • Evacuate if Advised: Follow evacuation orders from local authorities. If you live in a coastal or low-lying area prone to flooding, be prepared to evacuate promptly and heed all evacuation notices.
  • Secure Your Boat:** Boat owners should ensure their vessels are properly secured or relocated to a safe location. Double-check mooring lines, anchorages, and dock cleats to prevent damage or loss of boats.
  • Stay Away from the Shoreline: Avoid going near beaches, cliffs, and other shoreline areas during the storm. Dangerous waves, rip currents, and high winds can create hazardous conditions.
  • Stay Indoors During the Storm: Seek shelter indoors, away from windows, and preferably in an interior room on the lowest floor of your home. Do not venture outside during the storm unless necessary.
  • Communication: Ensure you have reliable communication, such as a battery-powered NOAA Weather Radio or a fully charged cell phone with emergency alerts enabled.
  • Check on Neighbors: Look out for your neighbors, especially the elderly, those with disabilities, and families with young children. Offer assistance to those who may need it.
Preparing for a hurricane: Vessels in the storm
  • Do not go to sea in a recreational boat to "ride out" a hurricane. All mariners should stay off the water.
  • If you cannot evade a storm, wear a life jacket and know how to activate your distress signaling devices. Rescue and assistance by the Coast Guard and other agencies, however, may be severely degraded or unavailable immediately before, during and after a devastating storm.
  • If you are in a vessel and see signs of bad weather, seek shelter. While en route to shelter, tie down loose objects on the boat and prepare passengers for possible rough water, heavy rains and high winds. Have all aboard put on life jackets, including pets. Do not let passengers below deck remove their life jackets.
  • If you think the boat may sink or capsize, keeping passengers above deck and attached to safety lines may be best.
  • If you get into trouble, call for help immediately. Ideally, you should have an EPIRB on board and a VHF marine radio. Keep in touch with the Coast Guard or anyone you can reach so someone knows your location and assistance can be sent if needed and when possible.
  • Carry life rafts on board large vessels. If the boat sinks, board the life raft, stay with it and tether passengers together. Keep moving slowly to keep circulation and body temperature up and avoid overexertion.
People in distress should use 911 to request assistance whenever possible. Social media should not be used to report life-threatening distress due to limited resources to monitor the dozens of social media platforms during a hurricane or large-scale rescue event.

For more information about hurricanes and hurricane preparedness, visit NOAA's and FEMA's websites, where you can find widgets that provide hurricane tracks and other updates. These can be found at www.ready.gov/hurricanes, www.nhc.noaa.gov, and www.fema.gov. Information is also available in Español, Français and Kreyòl.

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