- Be prepared BEFORE the Hurricane Season.
- Know the storm history and elevation of your area.
- Learn safe routes inland.
- Learn locations of official shelters.
- Review needs and working condition of emergency equipment, such as flashlights, battery-powered radios, etc.
- Ensure that enough non-perishable food and water supplies are on hand to last for at least 2 weeks.
- Obtain and store materials, such as plywood and plastic, necessary to properly secure your home.
- Check home for loose and clogged rain gutters and downspouts.
- Keep trees and shrubbery trimmed. Cut weak branches and trees that could fall of bump against the house.
- When trimming, try to create a channel through the foliage to the center of the tree to allow for air flow
- Determine where to move your boat in an emergency.
- Review your insurance policy to ensure it provides adequate coverage.
- Individuals with special needs should contact St. Charles Parish Emergency Operation Center at (985) 783-5050.
- For information and assistance with any of the above, contact your local National Whether Service office, emergency management office (783-5050) or American Red Cross chapter.
When a 'Hurricane WATCH' is Issued
- Frequently monitor radio, TV or NOAA Wether Radio for official bulletins of the storms progress.
- Fuel and service family vehicles.
- Inspect and secure mobile home tie downs.
- Prepare to cover all windows and door openings with shutters or other shielding materials.
- Check food and water supplies.
- Have clean, airtight containers on hand to store at least 2 weeks of drinking water (14 gallons per person).
- Stock up on canned provisions.
- Get a camping stove with fuel.
- Keep a small cooler with frozen gel packs handy for packing refrigerated items.
- Check prescription medicines-obtain at least 10 days to 2 weeks supply.
- Stock up on extra batteries for radios, flashlights and lanterns.
- Prepare to store and secure outdoor lawn furniture and other loose, lightweight objects, such as garbage cans, garden tool, potted plants, etc.
- Check and replenish first-aid supplies.
- Have on hand an extra supply of cash.
When a 'Hurricane WARNING' is Issued
- Closely monitor radio, TV , or NOAA Wether Radio for official bulletins.
- Follow instructions issued by local officials. Leave immediately if ordered to do so.
- Complete preparation activities, such as putting up storm shutters, storing loose objects, etc.
- Evacuate areas that might be affected by storm surge flooding.
- If evacuating, leave early (if possible, in daylight).
- Leave mobile home in any case.
- Notify neighbors and a family member outside of the warned area of your evacuation plans.
Plan to evacuate if you...
- Live in a mobile home. Do not stay in a mobile home under any circumstances. They are unsafe in high wind and/or hurricane conditions, no mater how well fastened to the ground.
- Live on the coastline or on a offshore island, or live near a river or in a flood plain.
live in a high-rise. Hurricane winds are stronger at higher elevations. Glass doors and widows may be blown out of their casings and weaken the structure.
- Stay with friends or relatives or at a low-rise inland hotel or motel outside flood zones. Leave early to avoid heavy traffic, roads blocked by early flood waters, and bridges impassible due to high winds.
- Hurricane shelters will be available for people who have no other place to go. Shelters may be crowed and uncomfortable, with no privacy and no electricity. Do not leave your home for a shelter until government officials announce on radio and/or television that a particular shelter is open.
- What to bring to a shelter: first-aid kit; medicine; baby food and diapers; cards, games, books; toiletries; battery-powered radio; flashlight (per person); extra batteries; blankets or sleeping bags; identification, valuable papers (insurance) and cash.
If Staying in a Home...
- Reminder! Only stay in a home if you have not been ordered to leave. If you are told to leave, do so immediately.
- Store water: Fill sterilized jugs and bottles with water for a 2-week supply of drinking water. Fill bathtub and large containers with water for sanitary purposes.
- Turn refrigerator to maximum cold and open only when necessary.
- Turn off utilities if told to do so by authorities.
- Turn off propane tanks.
- Unplug small appliances.
- Stay inside a well constructed building. In structures, such as a home, examine the building and plan in advance what you will do if winds become strong. Strong winds can produce deadly missiles and structural failure.
- If winds become strong: Stay away from windows and doors even if they are covered. Take refuge in small interior room, closet, or hallway. Take a battery-powered radio, a NOAA Weather Radio, and a flashlight with you to your place of refuge.
- Close all interior doors. Secure and brace external doors, particularly double inward opening doors and garage doors.
- If you are in a two story house, go to an interior first-floor room or basement, such as a bathroom, closet, or under the stairs.
- Lie on the floor under tables or other sturdy objects.
- Be alert tornadoes which often spawned by hurricanes.
- If the "EYE" of the hurricane should pass over your area, be aware that the improved weather conditions are temporary and that the storm conditions will return with winds coming from the opposite direction sometimes in a period of just a few minutes.
After the storm passes...
- Stay in your protected area until announcements are made on the radio of television that the dangerous winds have passed.
- If you have evacuated, do not return home until officials announce your area is ready. Remember, proof of residency may be required in order to re-enter evacuation areas.
- If your home or building has structural damage, do not enter until it is checked by officials.
Beware of outdoor hazards...
- Avoid downed power lines and any water in which they might be lying.
- Be alert for poisonous snakes, often driven from their dens by high water.
- Beware of weakened bridges and washed out roads.
- Watch for weakened limbs on trees and/or damaged overhanging structures.
- Do not use the telephone unless absolutely necessary. The system usually is jammed with calls during and after a hurricane.
- Guard against spoiled food. Use dry or canned food. Do not drink or prepare food with tap water until you are certain it is not contaminated.
- When cutting up fallen trees, use caution, especially if you are using a chain saw. Serious injuries can occur when these powerful machines snap back or when the chain breaks
Saffir / Simpson Hurricane Scale
All hurricanes are dangerous, but some are more so than others. The way storm surge, wind, and other factors combine determines the hurricane's destructive power. To make comparisons easier-and to make the predicted hazards of approaching hurricanes clearer to emergency forces- National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administrations hurricane forecasters use a disaster-potential scale which assigns storms to five categories. Category 1 is a minimum hurricane; category 5 is the worst case. The criteria for each category are shown below. This can be used to give an estimate of the potential property damage and flooding expected along the coast with a hurricane.
Category Definition / Effects
- CATEGORY ONE - Winds 74-95 mph: No real damage to building structures. Damage primarily to unanchored mobile homes, shrubbery, and trees. Also, some coastal road flooding and minor damage.
- CATEGORY TWO - Winds 96-110 mph: Some roofing material, door, and widow damage to buildings. Considerable damage to vegetation, mobile homes, and piers. Coastal and low-lying escape routes flood 2-4 hours before arrival of center. Small craft in unprotected anchorages break moorings.
- CATEGORY THREE - Winds 111-130 mph: Some structural damage to small residences and utility buildings with a minor amount of curtainwall failures. Mobile homes are destroyed. Flooding near the coast destroys smaller structures with lager structures damaged by floating debris. Terrain continuously lower then 5 feet above sea level may be flooded inland 8 miles or more.
- CATEGORY FOUR - Winds 131-155 mph: More extensive curtainwall failures with some complete roof structure failure in small residences. Major erosion of beach areas. Major damage to lower floors of structures near the shore. Terrain continuously lower than 10 feet above sea level may be flooded requiring massive evacuation of residential areas in land as far as 6 miles.
- CATEGORY FIVE - Windsgreater than 155 mph: Complete roof failure on many residences and industrial buildings. Some complete building failures with small utility buildings blown over or away. Major damage to lower floors of all structures located less than 15 feet above sea level and within 500 yards of the shoreline. Massive evacuation of residential areas on low ground within 5 to 10 miles of the shoreline may be required.