Get the latest information on natural hazards, diseases, and civil unrest in the United States, and find out how it affects your travel plans.

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Aerial view of San Francisco, United States Photo © Photo by Edgar Chaparro on Unsplash

Hurricane Dorian Threatens Southeastern Coast - September 3, 2019

Hurricane Dorian is currently a Category 2 storm heading towards the US mainland, where it is projected to move close to the coast of Florida tonight through Wednesday, and then along Georgia and the Carolinas. Life-threatening storm surge and flooding is possible, and mandatory evacuations have been ordered for dozens of coastal communities. Be sure to check the latest information from the National Hurricane Center, and keep an eye on local media for the latest updates.

If you're in an area where the storm is projected to hit, please check with authorities, follow any official warnings and listen to local news reports to monitor the situation. Failure to comply with directives from government authorities means you won't be covered by travel insurance. Also be aware: now that this is a known event, it may no longer be possible to purchase travel insurance to cover it. To discuss your coverage, please contact us at World Nomads.

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Need assistance? Find the emergency contact telephone number for you.

So we can best assist you, please be ready with the following:

  • Your policy number
  • A contact number for where you are now
  • The nature of your problem
  • If you are ill or injured we will need details of medical consultations you have had.

How to Survive a Hurricane

The absolutely best way to survive a hurricane is to avoid one. Get away from it, but if you make the decision to leave, make that decision early. Do not leave it until the last minute because you may find yourself caught without proper shelter.

If you decide to stay and "ride it out" it is advisable to get to an authorized shelter. The locations of these will be broadcast, or locals will know where they are. If there is no shelter, prepare to "shelter in place" in an internal room without windows.

Once a "storm watch" has been issued, make sure you are prepared in the event that the watch becomes a "warning."

  • Fill the gas tank of your car.
  • Check batteries in flashlights and radios.
  • Have extra batteries on hand.
  • Secure all doors and windows.
  • Close shutters or board up the windows.
  • Have extra supplies with you such as non-perishable food, clean drinking water, a half-gallon of water per person/per day (enough for a couple of days), and prescription drugs.

During the storm

  • Never go out during the storm. The winds can send flying debris into you causing injury and even death.
  • Stay away from windows and doors.
  • Keep on the alert for additional storm warnings. Hurricanes are known to spawn tornadoes so be prepared to take cover if one should strike.
  • While the storm is in progress avoid using electrical appliances.
  • Stay off the telephone.
  • All pets should be secured in carriers. The storm will be a frightening experience for them as well, and they could injure themselves or you if they panic.
  • Do not light candles or lanterns; they could get blown over causing a fire.
  • The eye of the storm passing over could make you think the storm is over when the worst is still yet to come. Only use this calm in an extreme emergency to make critical repairs.
  • Only after an official "all clear" has been issued is it safe to come out.

After the storm

  • Beware of downed power lines and gas leaks.
  • Stay away from heavily damaged areas.
  • Listen to your radio for instructions.

Hurricane Warnings and Categories

A tropical storm becomes a hurricane when wind speeds reach 74 mph or greater - Category 1.

  • Category 2 wind speeds are 96 mph to 110 mph
  • Category 3 - 111 mph to 129 mph
  • Category 4 - 130 mph to 156 mph
  • Category 5 - greater than 157 mph (note, there are no further categories)

A "watch" is issued when hurricane-force winds are possible in the named region (so maybe a hurricance is coming).

A "warning" is issued when hurricane-force winds are expected in the named region (so a hurricane is definitely coming).

Wildfires in Southeastern Alaska - August 30, 2019

Several wildfires are currently burning in Southeast Alaska and impacting popular tourist areas, including the Kenai Peninsula and Matanuska-Susitna (Mat-Su) Valley. At the time of writing, the McKinley Fire in the Mat-Su Valley was at 78% containment, and the Caribou Lake Fire near Homer was at 57% containment. The Swan Lake Fire on the Kenai Peninsula has been slowly increasing, but has remained at around 20% containment.

For the latest information, check with Alaska Wildland Fire Information. 

On Wednesday, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and U.S. Forest Service closed portions of the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge, including all lands in the Skilak Wildlife Recreation Area, as well as parts of the Chugach National Forest.

Travelers should expect delays on the Sterling Highway between Sterling and the junction with the Seward Highway to continue through the weekend. Swan Lake Fire suppression activities and dense smoke have restricted travel on this route recently. Drivers should be sure to carry ample fuel as well as food and water. Do not stop along the highway within the fire area.

One of the biggest dangers from the fire is air quality. The Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation has issued an Air Quality Advisory in effect through Friday afternoon for the Susitna Valley, Kenai Peninsula and Copper River Valley.

If you’re planning a trip to Alaska in upcoming weeks, be sure to check with your tour operator, airline, and hotel about potential changes or cancellations.

Older Alerts

Tropical Storm Barry Forming Off the Louisiana Coast - July 11, 2019

Tropical Storm Barry is moving across the Gulf of Mexico towards Louisiana and is expected to make landfall Friday or Saturday, possibly as a Category 1 hurricane. A state of emergency has been issued in Louisiana. Heavy rainfall and flooding is expected for much of eastern Louisiana, southern and central Mississipi, and southeast Arkansas.

Please check with authorities, follow any official warnings and listen to local news reports to monitor the situation. Failure to comply with directives from government authorities means you won't be covered by travel insurance. Also be aware: now that this is a known event and emergencies have been declared, it may no longer be possible to purchase travel insurance to cover it.

6.4 Magnitude Earthquake in California - July 2019

The USGS (US Geological Survey) has reported a 6.4 magnitude earthquake near the high desert city of Ridgecrest, California. Nearby San Bernardino County was also affected, and the earthquake was felt in Las Vegas, Nevada. The earthquake was shallow in depth (5.4 mi, 8.7km) which amplifies its effect to cause damage to infrastructure and services.

At least 20 aftershocks have been felt since the initial earthquake.

Many damaged buildings and roads have been reported, along with fires and rock slides in affected areas. A four-inch crack has formed in major highway 178 in San Bernardino County. 

Travelers are strongly advised to follow all directions by local authorities for their own safety.

Please check with authorities for more information before traveling within or to the affected region, follow any official warnings and listen to local news reports to monitor the situation. Failure to comply with directives from government authorities may result in you not being covered by travel insurance.

Measles Outbreak in New York City - July 2019

The Mayor of New York City, Bill de Blasio has declared a public health emergency in New York City following reports of over 800 measles cases, mainly in Brooklyn and Queens. 21 of those cases have been admitted to hospital, with 5 in intensive care. The mayor has indicated that people must be vaccinated or risk being fined US$1000. The health department has opened clinics to offer measles vaccinations in order to stem the disease from spreading.

Symptoms of the disease include fever, runny nose, dry cough, fatigue, a red blotchy rash which starts on the face and spreads and conjunctivitis.

Travelers who are planning to visit New York City are strongly advised to make sure their routine vaccinations (including measles) are up to date before arriving.

Please check with authorities for more information before traveling within or to the affected region, follow any official warnings and listen to local news reports to monitor the situation. Failure to comply with directives from government authorities may result in you not being covered by travel insurance.

Flooding in the Midwest - March 2019

Following the bomb cyclone which hit the United States in mid March, the Midwest states are experiencing significant flooding due to the winter snow thaw and impact from the cyclone. Roads and highways are jammed due to ice movement and many are also closed due to flooding. Governments in the states of Nebraska, Wisconsin, Minnesota, South Dakota and Iowa have declared a state of emergency and flood warnings have been issued due to the increase in water, levees breaking and river levels rising. Thousands of people have been evacuated.

Tijuana and San Diego Border Closure - November 2018

US authorities have closed the major border control point of San Ysidro between Tijuana, Mexico and San Diego, United States, turning away all vehicles and pedestrians. Thousands of migrants and refugees have been making their way from Central America towards the US to seek asylum from poverty, political persecution and violence only to be met with tear gas launched by US authorities.

San Ysidro is one of the busiest border crossings with nearly 100,000 people and vehicles heading north each day from Mexico.

Further demonstrations are also planned for both sides of the border in days to come. 

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  • Karen Dierking said

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