Tropical Storm Barry is an uncomfortable and unwelcome reminder that we’re in the middle of hurricane season. So, now is as good a time as any to go over some reminders about the best places to get information when a tropical storm or hurricane is approaching the area.
While most TV and radio weather forecasts are reliable at relaying information from the National Weather Service and National Hurricane Center, it iss always best to get your information straight from the source. You can do this by purchasing a NOAA Weather Radio and tuning it to our local station (for New Orleans, that’s KHB43, frequency 162.55). Not sure of what your station is? You can find it here.
Another excellent source for information on current track forecasts, public advisories, and storm surge watches and warnings is the National Hurricane Center website. They provide complete updates every six hours when a hurricane approaches. Update advisories are provided as needed.
Above all, it’s important to avoid becoming confused by speculation about which direction the storm may or may not be turning. It is very difficult to predict a hurricane track. Looking at projected track guidance and deciding that a hurricane is “turning” without access to all of the official equipment and guidance that the National Hurricane Center has is never a good idea.
For more immediate emergency information, we highly recommend signing up for alerts through the NOLAReady system. They will notify you via both email and text message when inclement weather is on the way. On their website you can find updates from the mayor, as well as a list of impacts on city services.
It is always best to prepare early. Ideally, you will already have emergency supplies such as bottled water and nonperishable food items on hand. You can help the city avoid flooding by ensuring that any catch basins near your property are clear of trash and debris. Don’t park in front of or on a catch basin if flooding is expected. If you notice that a catch basin is clogged, call 311 to report it so that it can be cleared. Other preparatory steps you can take are:
- Keep all important documents in a handy folder to “grab and go” in the event of an evacuation order. This includes copies of any medical prescriptions.
- Secure your trash bins
- Secure or bring in outdoor furniture
- Charge all phones and mobile devices
- Put fresh batteries in flashlights and portable radios
- Turn your fridge to its lowest setting
- Keep your pets inside
We here at Big Easy Magazine want you, our readers, to be safe. If you have an emergency, such as flash flooding, please call 911. To report non-emergency issues like downed trees, call 311. In the event of an evacuation order, please don’t attempt to “ride it out.” Follow any mandatory evacuations that are issued, as safely as possible – never walk or drive through flood waters. Above all, keep your attention tuned to the National Hurricane Center, National Weather Service, and local authorities entrusted with keeping you safe.