South Louisiana No stranger to hurricanes, Andrew and Katrina experienced in 1992 and 2005 respectively, and countless hurricanes since and before him. But after the Category 4 devastation of Hurricane Ida last year, 16 years after the day Hurricane Ida struck, preparations are more important than ever as the 2022 hurricane season begins.
This season is expected to be another season with above-average hurricane activity – the seventh year in a row with above-average condition. There is a 65% chance that the season — which runs from June 1 to November 30 — will produce a higher than normal amount of storms, according to the Climate Prediction Center (a division of the National Weather Service). Current forecasts predict a potential range of 14 to 21 named storms with winds of at least 39 mph, with six to 10 of these tornadoes with winds of at least 74 mph. Three to six major hurricanes are expected – categories three, four or five with winds of at least 111 mph. Like previous years, Louisiana and other countries along the Gulf Coast are expected to be the epicenter of many storms of the 2022 hurricane season. Yikes.
Paul Miller, assistant professor in the Department of Oceanography and Coastal Sciences at LSU, explains. “It is conceivable that Louisiana would not be affected, but certainly if the bay is more crowded than usual, the chances of that getting closer to home also increase.”
In the event of a hurricane, Carol Friedland, LSU’s LaHouse manager, advises strengthening windows and other vulnerable areas of the home. Friedland explains that branches particularly prone to breaking and damaging vehicles or homes should be cut down by an arborist professional, and furniture that could explode should be secured.
It’s important to take note of the five “Ss,” Friedland says. These include securing shingles, sealants, safeties, perimeters, and shutters. Friedland explains that shingles are especially important as a “first line of defence.”
“Once the roof covering is blown out, you are more likely to get water, for example, in your attic to saturate your insulation that can fall through your roof,” she says. “We really want to keep the water out of the house as much as possible.”
In order to prepare for hurricane season, it is also essential to have some items available in case of a power outage. These include:
• Non-perishable foods
• Batteries and phone chargers
• Medicines and other medical supplies for at least three days
• Full gas tank for cars and/or generators
• Carbon monoxide monitor (recommended if gas generator fumes, which should always be outside, leak into the unventilated home)
It is best practice, Friedland explains, to have these “typical protection needs in place” ready before a storm hits.
In the event of an evacuation, emergency evacuation orders must be followed and taken seriously.
“Listen and obey the emergency management and evacuation orders, because they don’t just order large-scale evacuations,” Friedland says. “But if an order is issued to vacate your area, it is best to comply with that.”
For updates on hurricanes as they develop, visit nhc.noaa.gov, and for more information on hurricane preparedness, visit noaa.gov/hurricane-prep. For more information, call the Mayor’s Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness at 389-2100, follow RedStickReady on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, download the Red Stick Ready mobile app, or text “RedStickReady” to 225-243-9991 for preparedness information.
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