As Louisiana continues to respond to the fourth surge of COVID-19 and its citizens focus on safety, we must also shift our attention to the Atlantic. We are no strangers to hurricanes, but according to National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), “Another above-normal Atlantic hurricane season is expected. Forecasters predict a 60% chance of an above-normal season, a 30% chance of a near-normal season, and a 10% chance of a below-normal season.”
Although experts do not anticipate the historic level of storm activity seen in 2020, life-threatening storm surges are expected to hit Louisiana’s coastline this Sunday or early Monday, August 30, 2021. State officials in Louisiana are warning residents to prepare for Tropical Storm Ida to make landfall as a hurricane. A list of key tips and other vital information for everyone during hurricane season, as set by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), are found below.
Every family has different needs and this is a partial list of key items to get together.
- Non-perishable food and water for each member of the family for a minimum of 7 days
- Medicine for family members should be refilled before a storm
- Extra Cash (ATMs and credit card machines may not be operating)
- Battery operated radio
- A solar-powered charger for cell-phones
- Face masks (especially if you and your family will need to go to a shelter)
- First aid kit
- Essential items for elderly, ill, or babies
- Important papers (license, passport, birth certificates, insurance papers are a few) secured in a waterproof container
- Full tank of gas in all cars
- Disinfectants for the home
While you should always listen to local officials about evacuation plans, if you are planning on riding the storm out in your home, take precautions to ensure it is safe and up-to-date on local hurricane building code specifications.
- Take an assessment of your home and the surrounding areas (inspect for loose branches, low hanging limps, loose roof tiles, cracked windows)
- Replace or fix damaged exterior doors and windows
- Remove loose items from the backyard and porch area. If you are unable to remove, secure all loose items
- Check caulking around windows and doors and fix any damaged pipes (this will help prevent leaks during high winds and rain)
- Is your home flood-prone? If so, you may need sandbags or other items
Preparing Amidst COVID-19
To accommodate guidelines set forth by the CDC, there may be additional items or procedures for everyone’s protection. Check the CDC website for the most up-to-date information to ensure you and your family remain safe and healthy during COVID-19 and 2020 hurricane season.
While we understand that leaving your home during a disaster is never easy, it may be necessary for the safety of you and your family. Planning can help reduce some of the stress and help you and your family evacuate quickly and safely. Ready.gov has provided a comprehensive checklist for prior, during, and after an evacuation.
- To find your evacuation route, please visit LA DOTD.
Planning for Your Pets During a Disaster
Make a plan. “Remember, during a disaster, what’s good for you is good for your pet, so get them ready today” (Pets and Animals). If you have larger animals or animals with special needs, please visit ready.gov for more information on how to care for them during a disaster.
- Food and fresh water for your pet for at least seven days
- All necessary medicines should be refilled before a storm
- Have your pet microchipped before a storm – make sure your address is up-to-date
- Plan for the safety of your pet in the event of an evacuation
- Remember that some shelters do not allow animals
Helpful sites for Hurricane Preparedness:
- “Busy Atlantic Hurricane Season Predicted for 2020.” Busy Atlantic Hurricane Season Predicted for 2020 | National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, www.noaa.gov/
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- “Pets and Animals.” Pets and Animals | Ready.gov, www.ready.gov/pets.
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