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Hurricanes in New Hampshire

When is Hurricane Season in New Hampshire?

The official hurricane season in New Hampshire aligns with the Atlantic hurricane season, spanning from June 1st to November 30th each year [1]. New Hampshire is not immune to tropical disturbances despite its northern location. However, compared to states situated in the southern and southeastern regions of the U.S., New Hampshire has historically experienced fewer direct impacts from major hurricanes, tropical storms, and tropical depressions.

While these severe weather events may be less frequent, their effects can still be significant. For instance, the National Hurricane Center records indicate that Hurricane Bob in 1991 and the infamous 1938 New England Hurricane caused extensive damage in New Hampshire.

To offer a clearer understanding of the historical impact of hurricanes, we developed an image that reflects tropical cyclone patterns dating back to 1851.

Historical hurricane frequencies in New Hampshire visualized: Comparing Atlantic Ocean originated storms with New Hampshire landfall events using NOAA tropical cyclone path data

The graph displays the likelihood of experiencing a tropical cyclone on a specific day of the year, comparing actual storm landfalls in New Hampshire with the overall storm pattern observed in the Atlantic basin. The raw data that went into this visual was taken from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's (NOAA) Hurricane Research Division.

Where Do Hurricanes Hit Most in New Hampshire?

In New Hampshire, hurricanes predominantly strike the coastal regions, with the highest frequency and intensity observed in Rockingham County. The proximity to the Atlantic Ocean exposes this region to hurricane-force winds and significant storm surges, causing severe flooding in coastal areas, according to NOAA. The area's geography, characterized by low-lying coastal plains and estuaries, further increases its vulnerability to floods following hurricane landfalls, as explained by the National Geographic Society.

The Hurricane Risk Graph visually represents the regions in New Hampshire most susceptible to hurricanes. The graph displays a hurricane risk heat map, with the frequency of occurrence and wind speed influencing the color gradient from blue to red.

New Hampshire tropical cyclone risk heat map: Regions color-coded based on frequency of hurricanes and tropical storms, weighted by wind speed, derived from NOAA's historical cyclone track data

Regions depicted in red, such as Rockingham County, face the highest risk, indicating a higher frequency of hurricanes and stronger wind speeds. Conversely, areas in blue experience less frequent and less severe hurricanes.

What Are the Recent Hurricanes in New Hampshire?

  • Hurricane Isaias (August 4, 2020): This hurricane caused power outages and significant tree damage across southern New Hampshire. No fatalities were reported, but the economic impact was substantial with repairs and cleanup costs.
  • Hurricane Dorian (September 6, 2019): Although the main impact of Dorian was on the southeastern United States, New Hampshire experienced heavy rainfall and strong winds, causing minor damage and power outages.
  • Hurricane Florence (September 17, 2018): New Hampshire was on the fringe of Florence's path, receiving only moderate rain and wind. No significant damage or fatalities were reported.
  • Hurricane Irma (September 11, 2017): Irma's impact on New Hampshire was minimal, with only light rainfall reported. There was no significant damage or loss of life.
  • Hurricane Matthew (October 10, 2016): Matthew brought heavy rainfall to New Hampshire, causing localized flooding and power outages. No fatalities were reported.
  • Hurricane Sandy (October 29, 2012): Known as "Superstorm Sandy," this hurricane caused significant damage across the state. More than 200,000 homes lost power, and the economic impact was severe. No fatalities were reported in New Hampshire, but the recovery and cleanup took several months.
  • Hurricane Irene (August 28, 2011): Irene caused widespread flooding and power outages in New Hampshire. There were no fatalities, but the economic impact was substantial. The most affected localities were in the western and southern parts of the state.

Please note that this list includes only the hurricanes that had a noticeable impact on New Hampshire. Other tropical storms and hurricanes may have affected the state to a lesser degree.

How to Prepare for a Hurricane Season in New Hampshire

In the face of unpredictable weather conditions, preparation plays a critical role in safeguarding lives and properties. A robust preparation strategy helps residents stay safe and facilitates a quicker recovery after a disaster.

Before a Hurricane

When it comes to hurricane preparedness, there are several steps to consider. The following is a short list of hurricane preparation checklist items:

  • Stay informed about the weather conditions in your area. Sign up for alerts from local weather stations or download a reliable weather app.
  • Develop a disaster plan. This should include evacuation routes and emergency communication methods.
  • Stock up on emergency supplies. This includes non-perishable food, bottled water, flashlights, batteries, medical supplies, and a battery-powered or hand-crank radio.
  • Secure your property. Install storm shutters or board up windows, secure outdoor objects, and reinforce garage doors.
  • Review your insurance policies. Ensure you have sufficient coverage for your home and possessions in the event of a hurricane.
  • Document your belongings. Photograph or video record your home's contents for insurance purposes.
  • If you live in a mandatory evacuation zone, determine where you would go and how you would get there if told to evacuate.

Following these steps will help enhance your hurricane safety, ensuring you're prepared in case a hurricane threatens your area.

During a Hurricane

When faced with a hurricane, it's crucial to take the right steps to ensure your safety. Here are some key actions you can take to stay safe during a hurricane in New Hampshire.

  • Stay informed: Keep track of the hurricane's progress and updates from local authorities. Knowing what to do during a hurricane can significantly improve your safety.
  • Secure your home: Board up windows, secure outdoor objects, and ensure your home is as fortified as possible against the storm.
  • Prepare an emergency kit: This should include items like bottled water, non-perishable food, a first-aid kit, a flashlight, batteries, and any necessary medications.
  • Evacuate if necessary: If officials advise you to evacuate, do so immediately. Know your evacuation routes ahead of time and have a plan for where you'll go.
  • Avoid flood waters: If you're caught in an area with rising water, move to higher ground. Flood waters can rise quickly and are often contaminated or filled with debris.
  • Stay indoors: If you haven't been evacuated, it's safest to stay inside away from windows and glass doors.

Remember, preparation and quick response to official instructions are key to staying safe during a hurricane in New Hampshire.

After a Hurricane

Following a hurricane, it is crucial to take several steps to ensure your safety and to start the recovery process:

  • Safety First: Confirm the safety of everyone in your household. Avoid entering a damaged building until it's declared safe by authorities.
  • Assess the Damage: Document all damages to your property. Photographs and videos can provide crucial evidence for your file insurance claim.
  • Contact Insurance Company: Report the damages to your insurance company. It's vital to initiate the insurance claim payout process as soon as possible. Be prepared to provide your policy number and any documentation of the damage.
  • Clean Up and Repairs: Start cleaning up and making temporary repairs to prevent further damage. Keep all receipts for reimbursement.
  • Register with FEMA: Contact the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to register for disaster assistance. FEMA can provide financial help for temporary housing, repairs, and other disaster-related expenses.

[1]: According to Fox Weather, the official hurricane season in New Hampshire aligns with the Atlantic hurricane season, spanning from June 1st to November 30th each year.