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Preparing for Hurricane Season in South Louisiana: Essential Tips

As we wrap up the first week of the 2024 hurricane season, it's essential for all of us in South Louisiana to take proactive steps in preparing for the potential impact of these powerful storms.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has released their official hurricane season, forecasting an active season with 17-25 named storms with 8-13 hurricanes, and 4-7 major hurricanes. With the NOAA's prediction of an above-normal season, now's the perfect time to review your emergency preparedness.

Staying or Going?

While most of us expect to bunker down and weather the lower category storms, it's always a good idea to have an exit plan just incase. Start by deciding where you would go and how you'll get there if evacuation is necessary. Discuss this with family and close friends, especially those who live outside of your potential impact area and could offer shelter, as hotels often fill up quickly once the clock is ticking. Outline several potential destinations so you're prepared if or when the storm changes direction, and don't forget to plan accordingly for your pets. You can find a helpful evacuation route identifier here.

Gather Disaster Supplies

Whether you stay or go, you’re going to need supplies not just to get through the storm but for the potentially lengthy and unpleasant aftermath. Be prepared for the stifling summer heat! Have enough non-perishable food, water, and medicine to last each person in your family a minimum of 3 days (store a longer than 3-day supply of water, if possible). Electricity and water could be out for weeks. You’ll need extra cash, a battery-powered radio and flashlights. You may need a portable crank or solar-powered USB charger for your cell phones. And lastly, don’t forget your pets!

Also consider some of the items we tend to forget about - make sure you have a hard paper file for important information that can be collected quickly. You want to include your family's driver's licenses, vehicle registrations and proof of insurance, insurance policies (life, health, property), medical and vaccination records, copies of prescription medicine labels, birth and marriage certificates, and other important personal records.

Create a Communication Plan

Determine family meeting places, and make sure to include an out-of-town location in case of evacuation. Write down on paper a list of emergency contacts, and make sure to include utilities and other critical services — remember, the internet may not be accessible during or after a storm.

Prepare Your Home Before the Storm's Getting Too Close

Don't get caught stuck in the last-minute preparing and panic. Now is the time to improve your home's ability to withstand hurricane impact. Trim trees clean your gutters and storm drains, and seal outside wall openings. If you have a generator, now is the time to take it out of storage and consider having it serviced. Don't wait until the last second to purchase property plywood, steel, or aluminum to board your windows and doors. If you have a garage door - remember that it is the most vulnerable part of the home, so it must be able to withstand hurricane-force winds. If you find yourself in a storm's path this year, make sure to bring in any outside furniture or other items that can become projectiles. If you're a renter, check in with your landlord to discuss plans for a storm.

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