Traveling with ESAs & Pets During a North Carolina Hurricane {Must Read}

Reading Time: 5 minutes

bridge damaged by hurricane irma north carolinaHurricane season is here, and it’s looking intense! When a North Carolina hurricane starts heading your way, you need to have a plan to evacuate with your pet and/or emotional support animal. Hurricanes bring heavy rain with intense wind speeds and cause widespread damage to areas affected.

When the National Weather Service predicts a hurricane will have significant high winds, local law enforcement will issue an evacuation order. You should never leave your pets behind.

An emotional support animal or other assistance animals can also help ease the stress of evacuating during a hurricane or help you cope afterward. Learn more about how to travel with your ESA during a North Carolina Hurricane and how they can help you with the anxiety, stress, and other factors during and after the storm.


Mandatory Evacuation North Carolina: ESA Protocol for When You’re in an Evacuation Zone

When you’re in an evacuation zone, and a hurricane heads towards your area, you need to find a place to stay during the storm that will be safer. If you live on the river, near a power plant, or in an area prone to flooding, you will likely need to go further inland and away from the disaster area.

Storm surge, flash flooding, and power outages are major concerns during a hurricane especially if you live along the coast or near water.

You can bring your emotional support animal to a pet-friendly shelter, hotel, or friend/family that live in a safer area. Emotional support animals are not service animals and do not have to be allowed in shelters, hotels, or other temporary places that do not allow pets. These places may be more willing to let you and your dog stay if you have your proper ESA documentation.

How to Get An ESA Letter To Make Traveling with Your Furkid Easier!

dog in car ready for hurricane season north carolina

ESA letters are issued by licensed mental health professionals and state that your ESA helps improve your mental health and helps you cope with your qualifying mental disability.

Emotional support animals make traveling easier as you will be more likely to be accepted into no-pet accommodations during a North Carolina hurricane because of your ESA letter (though establishments do have the right to say no). Legally hotel owners, shelters, and other organizations do not have to allow ESAs as they would a service animal, but they are more likely to.

How to get an Emotional Support Animal Before the Hurricane Strikes: CertaPet’s Simple 5 Min Process

If you are looking to get an emotional support animal before a hurricane, start with the Certapet 5 Min Screening Process.

This short pre-screening will determine whether or not you qualify to have an ESA. If you do, Certapet can connect you with a licensed mental health professional in your state, and you can have your ESA letter in less than 48 hours. If you need help during the Hurricane, CertaPet can provide additional resources and assistance.

Know Your Rights! The 2 Vital Emotional Support Animal Laws

There are two main laws that apply to emotional support animals. The first is the Air Carrier Access Act, which allows your ESA to travel with you in the cabin of the aircraft. Some airlines are becoming stricter and issuing new policies that only permit dogs and cats as emotional support animals.

The second law that protects emotional support animals is the Fair Housing Act. This law prevents landlords and homeowner’s associations from discriminating and refusing to rent to those with an emotional support animal. This act does not apply to a short-term rental like an Airbnb, hotel, or shelter.

The Benefits of Having an Emotional Support Animal with You During Scary Times

Emotional support animals can help reduce the stress and anxiety that comes with a major hurricane. These storms cause power outages, flooded roads, torrential rains and can cause damage to an entire city from single-family homes to an assisted-living facility.

The storm itself is scary, especially if you have to evacuate and wonder if your home will be damaged or flooded. The aftermath of a storm can be just as stressful when rescue teams come to clean up the area, and the inches of rain make your town unrecognizable.

Hurricanes can also cause public health issues that last weeks after the storm.

The Calming Comfort of an ESA

Your ESA whether it be a cat, dog, or even a smaller animal like a rabbit, can be your companion during the storm and the clean-up after. You won’t feel alone, and you can take extra relief knowing they are safe with you. Emotional support animals form special bonds with their owners and provided comfort during times of high stress, anxiety, sadness, and uncertainty.

Your ESA can make dealing with a natural disaster more bearable.

Hurricane Season North Carolina: Know Your Hurricane Categories!

The National Hurricane Center categorizes hurricanes by how strong the wind and wind gusts are.

  • 74-95 mph: Category 1
  • 96-110 mph: Category 2
  • 111-129 mph: Category 3 (major)
  • 130-156 mph: Category 4 (major)
  • 157 mph or higher: Category 5 (major)

Storms 101: Tropical Storms, Hurricanes, Typhoons, and Cyclones!

Hurricanes, typhoons, and cyclones are the same type of storm. The names determine where the storm formed. Tropical storms and hurricanes form in the North Atlantic Ocean and the Northeast Pacific.

Tropical storms develop into hurricanes as their wind speed increases. Cyclones form over the South Pacific and Indian Oceans. Typhoons form over the Northwest Pacific ocean.

evacuation zone mandatory evacuation sign hurricane north carolina

Be Prepared! NHC and NOAA: Hurricane Tracking Made Easy!

Don’t be caught by surprise by a North Carolina hurricane. The National Hurricane Center and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association make it easy to track a hurricane by giving estimated projections and wind strengths in advance.  You can prepare for the hurricane and start planning your evacuation before it gets close.

When is Hurricane Season in North Carolina?

Hurricane season for the Atlantic is from June 1st to November. August, September, and October hurricanes have been the most common.

4 of the Worst Hurricanes that Hit the U.S. in Recent Years!

North Carolina has had many damaging hurricanes. Hurricane Floyd struck North Carolina as a Category 2 in 1999 and there were 51 fatalities in the area, even weaker hurricanes can cause damage and losses of life.

Some areas in North Carolina like Lumberton and Pender County are still in recovery from Hurricane Matthew, and can not take any more storms as the city is still rebuilding. The community comes together after each storm to help with recovery. The North Carolina Tar Heels donated profits from their football cause to the relief effort for Florence.

Hurricane Florence North Carolina

Hurricane Florence hit North Carolina only as a Category 2 hurricane, but still, 39 people died. In areas like Cape Hatteras and Robeson County, there was severe flooding. In Bern, North Carolina, there was so much flooding, people had to be rescued on the water.

The barrier islands also saw flooding, powerful rip currents, and were heavily impacted by the storm. Coastal towns like Swan Quarter and Cape Fear were able to prevent the storm surge from damaging the area.


Hurricane Irma North Carolina

Irma hit North Carolina as a tropical depression, but still, cause power outages along the sate.

Hurricane Maria North Carolina

Maria did not cause any deaths on the US mainland but still caused damage and flooding to the Outer Banks.

Hurricane Harvey North Carolina

Hurricane Harvey made landfall in Texas but still causes major flooding to North Carolina.

emotional support animal left behind during north carolina hurricane season

Have Your Dog Emergency Kit Ready for When Those Gulf Winds Pick Up!

It’s important to be ready for an evacuation when the order is given. Hurricanes can cause stress and chaos as the roads fill with traffic and the shelters, hotels, and other hurricane accommodations fill up. You want to be able to evacuate quickly to be sure to find a safe place to stay.

6 Things to Have in Your Pet’s Kit

When a North Carolina hurricane starts to come your way, the stores will start to become empty of the favorite supplies for both people an animals. It’s better to be on the safe side and to have your pet’s kit stocked before the hurricane is close.

  1. Identification (ESA letter, recent photograph, pet records, especially rabies vaccine)
  2. Food and water
  3. Medication
  4. Toys
  5. Bed/Carrier
  6. Poo bags and sanitizing wipes
  7. CBD oil for dogs or CBD dog treats in case they get anxiety too!
Honest Paws CBD Oil For Dogs
Honest Paws CBD Oil for Dogs features 100% Full Spectrum CBD Oil, straight from the sun-grown Colorado hemp farms. Available in 125, 250 and 500 mg potency solutions.
Rated 5.00/5.00 by Certapet
Buy on

Make Sure Your Pets Have Clear Identification!

Hurricanes are dangerous, and you could end up separated for your pet. Identification also makes it easier to register at shelters. Have a picture of your pet, vet records, adoption records, and your ESA letter.

Keep your ESA letter readily available to show to hotels, shelters, and other accommodations. It’s best to have a paper copy as well as a digital copy.

Stay Safe and Do NOT Leave Your Pet/ESA Behind!

Many pets die or are lost during big storms. Pets that are left behind end up scared and extremely vulnerable. They have nowhere to go, and once the areas become flooded, they are trapped. The worst thing you can do is leave your ESA behind in a North Carolina hurricane. There are many pet-friendly accommodations during hurricanes.

emotional support dog sad for north carolina evacuation hurricane

Traveling with ESAs During a North Carolina Hurricane: How to Get Connected with an LMHP in Your State Today!

Having your emotional support dog or cat by your side helps make traveling easier during a hurricane. Hotels, shelters, and other accommodations will even be more likely to allow an ESA despite if they have a no-pet policy – just make sure to have your ESA letter and pet kit ready.

You can get connected with an LMHP in your state today by taking the Certapet 5-min pre-screening.

If your answers indicate that you may qualify for an ESA, Certapet will put you in touch with a LMHP, and you could have your ESA letter in as little as 48hrs!

It’s such a simple process, and so very worth it! Disasters always seem to affect other people, until the hurricane comes knocking on your door! Be prepared for the next North Carolina hurricane!

Common Questions on Traveling with ESAS during a North Carolina Hurricane

What laws protect my ESA during travel?

Do shelters have to accept my emotional support animal?

What identification should I bring for my ESA?

All product and Company names are Trademarks™ or Registered® trademarks of their respective holders.

Disclosure: Bear in mind that some of the links in this post are affiliate links and if you go through them to make a purchase may earn a commission. Keep in mind that we link these companies and their products because of their quality and not because of the commission we receive from your purchases. The decision is yours, and whether or not you decide to buy something is completely up to you.