May 31, 2024 - Climate

How to prepare now for hurricane season in New Orleans

Illustration of a pattern consisting of a water bottle, a flashlight, a whistle, duct tape, a battery, and a can opener.

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

The 2024 Atlantic hurricane season starts Saturday, and early forecasts say it will be a doozy.

Why it matters: Southeast Louisiana residents know better than most that it only takes one bad storm to alter a region forever.

The big picture: Hurricane season lasts from June 1 to Nov. 30.

  • Historically, the most active period for strong storms in the Gulf of Mexico is August and September.
  • Hurricanes and tropical systems can bring life-threatening flooding, winds and storm surge. They often knock out power in New Orleans metro too.

What to do now: Start mentally preparing for hurricane season and looking at your options.

  • If a storm comes, will you evacuate or shelter in place? If so, will you drive and where will you go?
  • Are there people or animals you care for? Make a plan now for how to keep them safe.

Between the lines: The city usually doesn't offer evacuation assistance unless it is mandatory, and that is rare.

  • More often, evacuation decisions for New Orleans, Metairie and other places inside the levee network are made by residents, based on their individual situation.

Here are some tips from NOLA Ready, FEMA, the National Weather Service and hurricane veterans.

Supplies

  • Stock up on water and nonperishable food to last at least four days. Here are some nonperishable food ideas.
  • Get flashlights, batteries and any backup power you need, such as battery packs for phones. See our suggestions for an emergency kit.
  • Make sure you always have a week of your prescription medications.

Home

  • Check your insurance policies for homeowners, flood or renters. What do they cover and what's your deductible?
  • Take a video inside and outside your home in case you need to make an insurance claim. Here's how you create a home inventory.
  • Test your generator if you have one and do any required maintenance.
  • Gather important documents you may need during an evacuation.
  • Cut any weak branches and trees that could fall on your house or your neighbors' home.
  • Inspect your roof and make any repairs.
  • Install storm shutters or get plywood panels to fit your windows. Shutters and storm panels take several weeks to procure so do this early.
  • Clean your gutters and keep the catch basin near your home clean.
  • Seal any outside wall openings with caulk to prevent water entry.
  • Do a general yard cleanup of things that could be blown around in strong winds.
  • If you rent, check with your landlord about your responsibilities ahead of and during a storm.

Vehicle

  • Get your vehicle checked out and do any needed maintenance now.
  • Top off your gas tank early and often during hurricane season. It will save you time if you need to evacuate because the lines will get very long once there's a threat in the Gulf.

People

  • Coordinate with loved ones and older folks who may need help preparing for a storm and evacuating.
  • Get your neighbors' phone numbers and talk with them about their plans.
  • Make sure your child's school has your current contact info so you can stay informed about storm-related school closures.

Pets

  • Get a copy of your pet's shot records. They are often required if staying in a storm shelter or pet-friendly hotel.
  • Have a leash and a pet carrier if you need to evacuate.
  • Stock up on pet food.

What's next: Sign up for the city's emergency text alerts by texting NOLAREADY to 77925.

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