Natural disasters

Hurricanes

Hurricanes Florence and Michael in September and October 2018 have caused widespread damage to infrastructure and disruption to transport networks in Florida, North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, Maryland and Georgia. You should be aware that, historically, more accidents occur following a hurricane than during it. The storm and flooding are not the only hazards; many electricity lines will be down and some buildings may not be structurally sound. During the recovery period, you should continue to follow the advice of the local authorities.

Florida, Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands were affected by Hurricanes Irma and Maria in September 2017. The post-storm environment in Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands remains fragile. If you’re in an affected area, you should continue to follow the advice of the local authorities.

The Atlantic and Northern Pacific hurricane season normally runs from June to November and can affect US coastal regions, Hawaii, and Guam. The South Pacific tropical cyclone season normally runs from November to May and can affect American Samoa. You should monitor the progress of approaching storms on the US National Hurricane Center website and follow instructions issued by the local authorities, including any evacuation orders.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) website contains information about how to prepare for extreme weather conditions and what to do if you are told to evacuate. It also provides a list of disaster supplies that will help if you live in an area affected by storms and hurricanes.

See our Tropical Cyclones page for advice about what to do if you are caught up in a storm/hurricane.

Earthquakes

Alaska, American Samoa, California, Guam, Hawaii, Nevada, Northern Mariana Islands, Oklahoma, Oregon, Puerto Rico, Washington state and the US Virgin Islands are prone to earthquakes. To learn more about what to do before, during and after an earthquake, visit the Federal Emergency Management website.

Tornadoes

Tornadoes can occur at any time of the year depending on weather conditions. To learn more about what you should do during, and after a tornado, visit the US National Weather Service website.

Wildfires

Forest and brush fires (wild fires) are a danger in many dry areas. High winds can cause fires to spread very rapidly. Areas of high risk are canyons, hills and forests. Monitor local media reports and follow the advice of local law enforcement officials. Exercise caution in areas which have been recently affected by wild fires as they are more susceptible to mudslides during heavy rainfall. For more information visit the National Interagency Fire Centre and US Geospatial Multi-Agency Coordination Group websites. For more detail about wild fires in California, visit the CAL FIRE website.

Snow storms

Snow storms during winter can cause delays and cancellations throughout the major airline hubs in the USA. Contact your travel company or airline before you travel. To monitor airport conditions in the USA, visit the Federal Aviation Administration website.

Volcanoes

There is continuous volcanic activity on Hawaii’s Big Island. British nationals in the area should monitor local media reports and follow the advice of local authorities, including any evacuation orders. For further updates see the State of Hawaii’s website. To learn more about what to do before, during and after a volcano, visit the Federal Emergency Management website.