Hurricane Evacuation

In New Bedford, it may be necessary to evacuate parts of the city to protect residents from storm surge flooding. In all but the most severe storms, the area of evacuation will be those low-lying areas outside the New Bedford Hurricane Barrier.

While the Hurricane Barrier provides a high level of tidal flood protection, according to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Southern Massachusetts Hurricane Evacuation Study of 1997 “peak surges generated from Category 3 and 4 hurricanes, with forward speeds greater than 40 mph, (and traveling specific tracks with landfall coinciding with high tide) may exceed the barrier’s design elevation. In such a RARE occurrence, additional areas inside the barrier may be evacuated.

Evacuation is also an option for people living outside potential flood areas who feel more comfortable “riding out” the storm in the safety and security of a mass care hurricane shelter.

City of New Bedford and local American Red Cross officials have identified New Bedford High School, 230 Hathaway Boulevard, as the city’s primary Mass Care Shelter. If this facility cannot be used, or additional shelter space is needed, other facilities (usually school buildings) will be opened.

New Bedford residents should tune to the New Bedford Government Access Channel 18 or WBSM-AM 1420 radio for the latest local emergency information and instructions.

If you do evacuate…

  • Leave as soon as possible (if possible, in daylight). Avoid flooded roads.
  • Secure your home including unplugging appliances.
  • Tell someone outside of the storm area where you are going. Relatives and friends will be concerned about your safety. Letting someone know your travel plans will help relieve their fear and anxiety.
  • Move furniture to a higher floor if time permits and you live in an identified surge zone or area prone to flooding. Moving valuable furnishings helps reduce potential damage.
  • Bring preassembled emergency supplies and warm protective clothing. People frequently arrive at shelters or other destinations with nothing. Having these items will make you more comfortable in other locations.
  • Bring other needed supplies. While shelters provide a safe place to stay and food, specialty items for infants and individuals on restricted diets may not be available.
    Bring these items with you to a shelter:
  1. First aid kit, manual, and prescription medications.
  2. Baby food and diapers.
  3. Cards, games, books.
  4. Toiletries.
  5. Battery-powered radio and extra batteries.
  6. Flashlight (one per person) and extra batteries.
  7. Blankets or sleeping bags.
  8. Identification.
  9. Valuable papers (copies of insurance papers, passports, and other essential documents).
  • Lock up your home and leave.