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Mayor Wu Announces Precautions Ahead of Hurricane Lee

The storm could bring up to one to four inches of rainfall, with damaging winds, and potential for flooding in low-lying areas.

Mayor Michelle Wu today issued precautions ahead of Hurricane Lee reaching Boston. The storm is expected to impact the Boston area overnight Friday, September 15 through Saturday, September 16. Hurricane Lee is forecast to pass offshore of southern New England on Saturday but its impacts will extend far from the storm’s center. The latest forecast indicates up to one to four inches of rainfall, with damaging winds, and potential for flooding in low-lying areas. The area will experience a peak storm surge of one to three feet. Residents are encouraged to stay indoors throughout the storm. For more information, visit

Mayor Wu issued these precautions during a storm preparation press conference. She was joined by leadership from various Cabinets and departments including the Office Emergency Management; Environment, Energy, and Open Space Cabinet; Boston Emergency Medical Services; Parks and Recreation Department; Boston Police Department; Boston Fire Department; Streets Cabinet; Operations Cabinet; and the Boston Water & Sewer Commission. 

“Our City departments have been preparing for every potential impact of this storm, and even as the projected path has moved further away from Boston, we are taking every step to be ready for the unexpected,” said Mayor Michelle Wu. “Our top priority is to ensure the safety of everyone in our communities, so please plan ahead to stay indoors if possible on Saturday and check on your loved ones and neighbors.”

Extreme and intense rain events are becoming increasingly common in the Northeast, often dropping several inches of rain in a couple of hours. The city received over 20 inches of rain in just July and August; Boston typically receives a total of 44 inches annually. The City may experience combined sewer overflows during the storm and the public can track these via the BWSC and BPHC websites. BWSC and the City are preparing for the rain by clearing debris off of catch basins so the infrastructure is unimpeded during the storm. Boston is also improving stormwater management by building green infrastructure across the city to reduce the flow of stormwater into our stormwater system. Residents can install green infrastructure at home, including rain barrels and rain gardens that decrease the amount of stormwater that must be managed by the city’s stormwater system. 

BCYF centers will open for regular hours in case residents need support or shelter.

The City of Boston is urging the following precautions:

  • Put together an emergency kit, including a flashlight, batteries, first aid supplies, copies of critical information, and non-perishable food items.
  • Make a family emergency communication plan.
  • Turn on your TV and radio every 30 minutes to get the latest weather updates.
  • Charge your cell phone so you will have a full battery in case you lose power.
  • Hurricane winds can cause trees and branches to fall, so trim or remove damaged trees and limbs to keep you and your property safe. Report damaged or downed trees in the public right of way to 311.
  • Secure loose rain gutters and downspouts and clear any clogged areas or debris to prevent water damage to your property.
  • Avoid driving during the storm.
  • Avoid walking or driving through flood waters.
  • Clear street catch basins to prevent or reduce street flooding.
  • Check on neighbors who might need assistance. 
  • In the event of an emergency, call 911. 
  • For non-emergency issues, call 311.

General flood protection tips:

  • Sign up for emergency notifications through AlertBoston.
  • Know your zone! Know your evacuation zone and route and be prepared to evacuate as directed by public officials. 
  • Similarly, find out how vulnerable your property is to flooding. If your home is in a flood-prone area, contact the National Flood Insurance program to learn what mitigation measures you can take in advance.
  • Evaluate your insurance coverage once a year to make sure your home is fully covered.
  • If you live in a flood-prone area, keep these materials on hand: sandbags, plywood, lumber, plastic sheeting, trash bags, shovels, work boots and gloves.

In advance of a flood event:

  • Tie down or bring in outdoor objects (outdoor furniture, trash receptacles, etc.) that could be swept away or damaged during flooding.
  • Elevate items stored in your basement to prevent damage. If you have a sump pump, check that it is working. Remove hazardous household materials (e.g. paint, petroleum products) from basements and other areas that may flood.
  • Do not park your vehicle near the harbor, streams or rivers, especially during threatening weather conditions.
  • Follow any directives to turn off utilities. If you’re advised to switch off the main power source to your home, flip each breaker and THEN turn off the main breaker. You may also need to shut off the main valve for your home’s gas and water service.

After a flood event:

  • If you have evacuated, return home only when authorities have indicated it is safe.
  • Do not go near any downed power lines especially if there is standing water nearby. Please report downed power lines to 911.
  • Avoid walking or driving through flood waters.
  • If your home experienced flooding, keep the power off until an electrician has inspected your system for safety.
  • Do not touch a circuit breaker or replace a fuse with wet hands or while standing on a wet surface.
  • Have an electrician inspect electrical appliances that have been wet and do not turn on or plug in appliances unless an electrician tells you it is safe. A trained professional may be able to recondition some devices while others will require replacement.
  • Photograph damage to your property to assist in filing an insurance claim.
  • Take necessary measures to prevent further damage to private property immediately following a flood event, as damage caused after a qualifying event may not be covered by insurance.
  • To report flooding, call the Boston Water & Sewer Commission at 617-989-7900.

Homeless Services:

The City of Boston works closely with a network of shelter providers to ensure there is adequate shelter during weather emergencies. BPHC’s emergency shelters at 112 Southampton St. and 794 Massachusetts Ave are open 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

You can view flooding tips, as well more information about emergency preparedness.

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