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How to Prepare for a Hurricane in New Orleans

June 1, 2022

When you live on the Gulf Coast, hurricanes are something you have to be ready for every year, so it’s nice to keep a list on how to prepare for a storm. The decision to leave or stay for a storm is never easy. Personally, Maloney leaves when someone whispers the word “hurricane” in her presence. For Fender, it’s a toss up. But everyone’s means and motivations are different when you prepare for a hurricane in New Orleans.

No matter what your inclination, keep an eye on reliable sources of info regarding the weather. National TV news tends to sensationalize storms so like most things, it’s best to keep it local. We like WDSU’s Margaret Orr and The Tinder Meteorologist on Instagram and of course NOLA.com. You’ll also need to know your evacuation options. Some routes may be closed. Leaving too late could get you stuck in traffic with a storm coming in. The City of New Orleans and the National Hurricane Center have the most up-to-date information. 

And, if you do choose to stay, here’s a helpful checklist on how to prepare for a hurricane or tropical storm.

Shopping List for your Hurricane Kit

  • Bleach (no lemon or other additives) 
  • Water for at least three days. One gallon per person per day is a good starting point.
  • Mosquito repellant 
  • 7 days of food for pets
  • Hand san and face masks (duh!)
  • A big strong cooler to store all this in.

Pets

  • Keep a collar and tags on your pet even if they don’t normally wear them in the house. The pressure systems can do crazy things to animals and can even cause them to run out of the house.
  • Make sure your chip address is up to date
  • Stock up on any pet meds/ food
  • Have on hand anything that soothes them in a storm – CBD, thunder jacket, etc.
  • A good/up to date photo of your pet for ID purposes (and because they’re adorable)
  • Most shelters don’t take pets. Call ahead to find evacuation hotels with pet policies. 

Homeowners

  • Have you checked to make sure your flood insurance is paid up.
  • Photos/a video of your house interior/exterior and your belongings before a storm arrives for insurance purposes. 
  • Waterwise has an incredible resource list for helping you to help your land work with water better.

Inside

  • Fill the bathtub with water. This can be drinking water under dire circumstances but most likely can be used to flush your toilet.
  • Always have drinking water stored in your house. One gallon per person per day.
  • Candles – functional but get some Wicks Nola because they smell nice and burn forever.
  • Flashlights – out where you can grab them easily in the dark.
  • Batteries – Pre charge the rechargeable batteries.
  • Charge all your devices and external batteries.
  • Download shows to watch on a laptop or tablet.
  • As far as food goes, the ever important hurricane snacks are up to personal taste. Also be sure you have some shelf stable foods on hand, like bread, peanut butter, canned soups and coffee concentrate. If you have a gas stove, you can add boil-able supplies to that list. 
  • Put important documents in waterproof containers.
  • Be sure your phone is set up for wifi calling, in case the cell network goes down. 

Outside

The two major obstacles with Hurricanes and tropical storms are high water and wind.

  • Bring in anything you can from outside, like plants, flags and patio furniture. 
  • Secure things you don’t bring in. Tie down trash cans and recycle bins.
  • Close storm doors and shutters. If your shutters don’t lock, zip ties work great.
  • Keep trees trimmed. Remove loose, dangerous limbs. Entergy will trim trees threatening some powerlines.
  • Keep the water level low in your pools, ponds or fountains.

Communication

  • Keep a battery-powered AM/FM radio on hand. You can’t rely on wifi or cell service for information. 
  • Now’s a great time to exchange contact info with neighbors in case of emergency. You may need someone to check on your house or vice versa. And who knows, maybe one of them has a generator. 
  • Texting typically works best immediately after a storm.   
  • Pick a contact person outside of the hurricane danger zone to be the point of contact should your group get separated and be unable to reach each other individually. 

Vehicles

  • Park your car on high ground. In New Orleans it is typically legal to park on the neutral ground before a storm.
  • Fill your tank before the storm. Gas can be tough to come by in the aftermath. 
  • Keep a can of fix-a-flat on hand. Roadways can be littered with debris after a big storm. 

Generators

  • ALWAYS run them outside, 20 feet from the house. Fumes can cause carbon monoxide poisoning inside.
  • Have extra gas on hand, store in a cold, dry ventilated area if possible.
  • Test your generators beforehand if possible. 

If you evacuate

  • Pack a cooler. Empty out your fridge as best as possible. If the electricity goes out, you’re going to have a mess when you get back.
  • Bring cash if possible. 
  • Unplug anything that doesn’t need power while you are gone in case of a power surge.
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