Hurricane Evacuation Planning

Hurricanes are a major threat to the Houston-Galveston region. Depending on the severity of the storm, it may become necessary to evacuate portions of the Houston-Galveston region.

Person Viewing Evacuation Maps Online

Planning ahead is critical to making sure you can evacuate quickly and safely. Coastal residents can take steps to prepare for an evacuation now by becoming familiar with their evacuation zone and the evacuation routes in their community.

H-GAC's Hurricane Preparedness Guide

Hurricanes bring destructive winds, heavy rains, and storm surge, posing serious threats to property and lives throughout the Houston-Galveston region. Armed with the right information and proactive measures, we can weather the storm together and keep ourselves and our loved ones safe. Let this guide be your compass, empowering you to face the storm with confidence and resilience.

Evacuation Information and Maps

Hurricane Evacuation Zip Zone Maps

Download a detailed zip code map to find your hurricane evacuation zip zone and evaluate your evacuation plans.

Evacuation Routes

Download a detailed evacuation map to help determine the best route for you and your family’s safety if you need to evacuate.

If it becomes necessary to evacuate residents during a hurricane, authorities will issue evacuation orders in a phased approach by zip code zone or “zip zone.” Coastal residents should become familiar with which zip zone they reside in.

Know Your Zone

Knowing your zone will help you better understand when and if you need to evacuate during a hurricane. It will also help you avoid unnecessary evacuation travel, thereby reducing highway congestion, easing overcrowding at local storm shelters, and boosting public safety.

Below, you can find detailed zip zone and evacuation route maps for the Southeast Texas region.

Shelter in Place

Residents who live outside the hurricane evacuation zones should be prepared to shelter in place in the event of a severe storm. Prepare an emergency supply kit with enough non-perishable food and water for at least three days. If you have pets or large animals in your care, plan to have enough food to last them for several days. Also, plan for relatives with medical or special needs.

Visit for more information on how to prepare these special needs groups for hurricane season.

If you feel the need to leave your residence, allow citizens who live in evacuation zones to leave the coastal area first.

Shelter in Place Safety Tips

Pay close attention to the local news for emergency updates and official instructions. Stay inside, away from windows, skylights and glass doors. Turn your refrigerator and freezer to their coldest settings to keep stored food fresh longer in case the power goes out. Store water in clean bathtubs, jugs, and bottles.

If the power does go out, unplug all appliances, TVs, stereos, and computers that are not connected to a surge-protected outlet to reduce potential damage from a power surge when electricity is restored. Store valuables and personal documents in waterproof containers. Keep flashlights handy.

Emergency Supply Kit Essentials

Residents who are sheltering in place for a hurricane or severe storm should have a well-stocked emergency supply kit. Below are some essential items every kit should include:

  • Water (one gallon per person per day for at least three days, for drinking and sanitation) 
  • Food (at least a three-day supply of non-perishable food) 
  • Battery-powered or hand crank radio and a NOAA Weather Radio with tone alert 
  • Flashlight 
  • First aid kit 
  • Extra batteries 
  • Whistle (to signal for help if needed) 
  • Dust masks (to help filter contaminated air) 
  • Moist towelettes, garbage bags and plastic ties (for personal sanitation) 
  • Wrench or pliers (to turn off utilities
  • Manual can opener 
  • Local maps 
  • Cell phone with chargers and a backup battery 

Visit for more information on how to prepare your home and family for a hurricane, and for other disaster planning tips.

The Harris County Office of Emergency Management has developed an interactive evacuation map to help residents determine if they live in an evacuation zone. Find out if your residence is located in an evacuation zone to help develop your hurricane plan.

How to Use Zip Zone and Evacuation Route Maps

It is important to know your evacuation zip zone and the available hurricane evacuation routes near you ahead of time so that you and your family can evacuate quickly and safely when necessary. Hurricane evacuations are staggered to prevent highway congestion and allow for quicker, safer movement of people. If an evacuation becomes necessary, orders will be issued by zip zone.

The Houston-Galveston region has four zip zone areas, classified based on their level of threat from storm surge.

Use the hurricane zip zone maps to easily identify your evacuation zone so that you’ll be ready to move quickly if your zone is announced. If you have other family members who live in a coastal area, become familiar with their evacuation zone as well. You may be able to assist them with their evacuation plans.

Zip zone maps are updated annually before hurricane season.

Hurricane evacuation routes are specially designated roadways used to provide the safest and most timely evacuation of coastal areas during a hurricane threat.

Once you are familiar with your zip zone, it’s important to know the evacuation routes near you.

Download and save a copy of the evacuation route map to help plan your route. Evacuation route maps are updated annually before hurricane season.

Evacuation Planning Tips

Hurricanes bring many hazards to coastal and inland areas, such as storm surge, inland flooding, and strong winds. Understand what types of hazards could happen where you live and create a plan on how to prepare for them.

Make sure everyone in your household understands your hurricane plan. Also, create a plan for your place of work, children’s daycare, close relatives living in a nursing home or assisted living facility, and any place you frequent often.

Mother and Child

Create an emergency supply kit with essential supplies you’ll need to take with you if you need to evacuate. If you’re not sure where to start, check out this emergency essentials checklist from Harris County, which includes essential items to protect against COVID-19.

Shop early and give yourself more time to buy emergency supplies. Have refills for prescriptions and other medical supplies your family uses on a regular basis.

If you have pets, include in your kit basic survival items, medications, and items to keep your pets happy. Visit for more information about preparing pets for a natural disaster.

There are several essential documents you’ll want to take with you or safeguard in the event of an evacuation. These documents include identification, insurance information, medical information, etc.

Make sure these documents are up to date and take measures to safeguard them now. Make copies and keep them in a safety deposit box or in a secure, password-protected digital space. Visit for a full list of critical documents to safeguard to prepare for a natural disaster.

You may need to evacuate quickly during a hurricane. Make sure every member of your household is familiar with your evacuation zone, evacuation routes, and where you will stay. Practice with your family and pets. If you or anyone in your household is an individual with disabilities, identify if you may need additional help during an evacuation.

Women in Wheelchair

Residents with special needs can sign up for the State of Texas Emergency Assistance Registry (STEAR). The STEAR program provides local emergency planners and first responders with additional information on the needs in their community. Learn more about STEAR at

Have several ways to receive warnings and alerts. Residents can download the FEMA app and receive real-time alerts from the National Weather Service for up to five locations nationwide. Also, sign up for community alerts in your area, and pay close attention to weather reports from your local news sources. Be aware of the Emergency Alert System and Wireless Emergency Alert, which requires no signup.

Only evacuate when you are instructed to do so by local officials. By waiting until your zip zone is called to evacuate, you will help to reduce congestion and roadway safety for fellow travelers. At the same time, when your zip zone is called to evacuate, leave immediately. Do not wait until the last minute. When it’s time to leave, follow any guidelines and directions given on routes and what to do.

After the storm has passed, pay close attention to emergency officials’ guidelines on when to return through local news reports and emergency alerts. There may still be hidden hazards in your area that first responders and emergency officials need to clear before residents can safely return to their homes.

For more information on how to plan for a hurricane evacuation and for other disaster preparedness resources, visit, the official website of the Department of Homeland Security.

Other Resources for Hurricane Preparedness

See below for more resources from H-GAC and our community partners on how to prepare for hurricane season in Texas.

H-GAC’s Together Against the Weather website provides information to persons with special needs and their caregivers. Visit for more information on how to prepare these special needs groups for hurricane season.

Check out our hurricane preparedness video playlist on the official H-GAC YouTube channel.

H-GAC works closely with many federal, state, regional, and local agencies in preparing for severe weather events and the planning of regional evacuations. Visit our Preparedness Resources page for more information on how to plan for severe weather and other emergencies from our partners throughout the region.