NPS Hurricane and Severe Weather Response

The National Park Service manages a wide variety of areas across the United States and its territories, with many different types of physical environments and visitor experiences where varying levels of service are required to manage incidents and emergencies.

During severe weather such as hurricanes, the NPS strives to ensure the safety of its visitors, employees, and resources. When the NPS is responding to an ongoing severe weather event, this page will provide timely updates about NPS response activities and links to specific information about parks that may be involved.

The immediate NPS response for parks significantly impacted by severe weather and other natural disasters is often coordinated by NPS Incident Management Teams (IMTs) from across the country. An IMT’s work focuses on accounting for and assisting employees at impacted parks, organizing for the recovery work ahead, and bringing in additional staff resources to conduct damage assessments, coordinate debris removal, and provide access to park areas. The NPS also coordinates closely with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), the lead agency for the federal response to severe weather emergencies.

Check the list of park alerts for additional information about park closures and warnings. You can also read more about 2019, 2018, and 2017 storms that affected national parks.

On This Page Navigation

Hurricane Isaias

As of August 3, 2020, 5:30 p.m. ET
The NPS is monitoring the path of Isaias as the storm moves along the eastern coast of the US. Some national parks that may be impacted by Isaias are already closed or have reduced operations due to COVID-19. Parks in and near coastal areas of the southeast and mid-Atlantic have implemented their severe weather plans ahead of possible impacts this week. National parks in Florida have reopened areas that were closed for the storm. Check park websites for further details.

National parks with hurricane-related closures:

Georgia

South Carolina

North Carolina

Virginia

New York

Park News Releases for Hurricane Isaias

Loading results...

    Hurricane Hanna

    As of July 31, 2020
    Padre Island National Seashore is continuing to recover after Hurricane Hanna made landfall along the south Texas Gulf Coast on July 25. The park, which already had some locally mandated COVID-related beach closures in place, is closed until assessments and any required repairs are complete and it is safe to re-open.

    Hurricane Douglas

    July 2020
    Hurricane Douglas passed north of the islands of Hawaii on Sunday, July 26. Some national parks were already closed or had reduced operations due to COVID-19. Park areas closed in preparation for the storm have reopened. Check park websites for additional details.

    Tropical Storm Cristobal

    June 2020
    On June 8, Cristobal moved inland from the Gulf of Mexico across southeastern Louisiana bringing tropical storm force winds, storm surge, and flooding along the central Gulf Coast. Parks in the storm’s path implemented severe weather plans. Several parks, including Gulf Islands National Seashore, closed park areas in preparation and response to the storm and some were already closed or had reduced operations due to COVID-19. Check park websites for further details.

    Other Federal Resources and Information from FEMA and the CDC

    • The Federal Emergency Management Agency (Department of Homeland Security) (Español) is the lead agency for the federal response to severe weather emergencies.
    • The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has information about natural disasters, severe weather, and COVID-19 including guidelines for preparing for hurricanes.
    • USA.gov provides links to the latest available information on relief and response, including storm preparedness, helping survivors, and other resources. (GobiernoUSA.gov también provee información del gobierno en español.)
    • For information about tropical weather that may be affecting a park near you, please visit the National Hurricane Center of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. The NHC issues watches, warnings, forecasts, and analyses of tropical weather.

    NPS Policy and Authorities

    NPS emergency response efforts are directed by NPS Management Policies, which state, “The saving of human life will take precedence over all other management actions as the National Park Service strives to protect human life and provide for injury-free visits” (Section 8.2.5.1, Visitor Safety and Emergency Response). The NPS ability to respond to incidents is essential to the safety of all who enter NPS areas and is implemented in this policy.

    The NPS also has authority to support emergency response outside of the parks. During times of emergency, the NPS may be asked to provide response to conduct search and rescue, firefighting, or public safety and security. The NPS can provide support for needs involving public works and engineering, public health and medical services, oil and hazardous spill response, and external affairs. In addition, the NPS is one of the support agencies to provide natural and cultural resources and historic preservation functions in the federal government under the National Response Framework.

    Last updated: August 3, 2020