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What is a Hurricane Hazard?

Preparation for a Hurricane is much easier than in decades past due to advanced forecasting techniques and the publics accessibility to weather forecasts and alerts. PEMA strongly recommends that all area families, individuals and business take steps to prepare for a Hurricane. Please visit the National Hurricane Center for the most up-to-date information on storm tracking, how to put in place a family preparedness plan, how to monitor a storm and what to do if a storm is forecast to strike.

Basic Hurricane Safety Actions

  • Know if you live in an evacuation area. Know your home's vulnerability to storm surge, flooding and wind. Have a written plan based on this knowledge.
  • At the beginning of hurricane season (June 1st), check the supplies for your disaster supply kit, replace batteries and use food stocks on a rotating basis.
  • During hurricane season, monitor the tropics.
  • Monitor NOAA Weather Radio. It is an excellent / official source for real-time weather information and warnings.
  • If a storm threatens, heed the advice from local authorities. Evacuate if ordered.
  • Execute your family plan

WATCH vs. WARNING - Know the Difference

A HURRICANE WATCH issued for your part of the coast indicates the possibility that you could experience hurricane conditions within 48 hours.

This watch should trigger your family's disaster plan, and protective measures should be initiated, especially those actions that require extra time such as securing a boat, leaving a barrier island, etc.

A HURRICANE WARNING issued for your part of the coast indicates that sustained winds of at least 74 mph are expected within 36 hours or less.

Once this warning has been issued, your family should be in the process of completing protective actions and deciding the safest location to be during the storm.

Why we have the Fox Point Hurricane Barrier

Before 1960, Providence had suffered great losses from tidal flooding. In September of 1938 and during Hurricane Carol in August 1954, downtown Providence had experienced a water depth of over eight feet.

The hurricane in 1938 had been a deadly and destructive one, costing $200 million in damages and 250 lives; $120 million for the city of Providence. Amazingly, only 3.1 inches of rain had fallen in the city of Providence. On August 31, 1954, Hurricane Carol lashed its fury on the Providence area.

The City of Providence suffered a greater amount of concentrated damage than any community caught in the path of the storm - upwards of $41 million. Flood tides were at 13 feet above normal. To make matters worst, the U.S. National Weather Bureau failed to give an adequate warning and the storm arrived at high tide. Gusts of wind, at a rate of 72 to 100 miles per hour, blew into Providence along with water as high at 8 feet in the downtown area.

UPDATE: In Febrauary 2010 the City of Providence passed control of the Fox Point Hurricance Barrier to the US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE). The City's Department of Public Works (DPW) still retains responibility for the levee and street gates. The Narragansett Bay Commison (NBC) retains responsibility for waste water control.

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