The 2020 hurricane season could bring new challenges as Louisiana residents also navigate the realities of COVID-19. The U.S. has already seen one named storm, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said coastal areas should brace for an active season.
Preparations should include yards, homes, pets and having food and cleaning supplies, but disinfectants and some food items have been in high demand since the state went on lockdown following outbreaks of the novel coronavirus.
LSU AgCenter food safety expert Wennie Xu said cleaning and disinfecting items such as soap, hand sanitizer, disinfecting wipes, or general household cleaning and disinfecting supplies for surfaces are important, especially if a storm necessitates cleanup because of floodwaters or storm damage.
Having a three-day water supply is important. “It is best to buy bottled water and prepare for one gallon of water per day per person,” she said.
To keep food safe in the event of a power outage, keep the doors of your refrigerator and freezer shut as much as possible. “Frozen foods can be safely refrozen if they still have ice crystals on them or the temperature is 40 degrees or lower,” Xu said.
She also said to make sure you have a manual can opener, a food thermometer to monitor temperature and bleach if you need to sanitize utensils, pots and water.
Xu also said families should have two cloth face covering per family member.
AgCenter nutritionist and registered dietitian Sandra May said when preparing for a hurricane, keep in mind foods that do not have to be refrigerated before or after opening will not spoil over a period of a few days, require little to no preparation and can be prepared without electricity.
Be sure to have at least a three-day food supply for each person in the household, she said.
Another step for storm preparation is to make sure your home is ready.
AgCenter housing specialist Claudette Reichel said to remember the letter “S” for home projects. She said to inspect shingles, soffits, seals, shutters and surroundings.
Homeowners looking to replace a roof have hurricane-hardy options, such as wind-rated shingles and tear-resistant, synthetic underlayment. But if a replacement isn’t in the plans, Reichel said, homeowners can strengthen existing shingles with roofing cement.
“Put some dabs under the first course of shingles and along the gable ends where it is most vulnerable,” she said. Roof damage is the biggest homeowners insurance loss following hurricanes.
Reichel also recommended securing soffits with polyurethane sealant and stainless steel screws. “Soffits are less likely to get blown around and allow wind-driven rain into your attic and cause major damage,” she said.
Inexpensive caulk will seal holes where wires, cables and pipes enter or exit your house.
When high winds are expected, flying debris can damage windows. Shutters such as lightweight translucent removable storm panels are a good alternative to heavy plywood boards, Reichel said.
AgCenter horticulturist Heather Kirk-Ballard said landscapes can contain hazards during a storm. She recommends inspecting large trees and shrubs for dead branches. A licensed arborist should remove any trees or large branches that may be an issue.
“Be sure that anything that can be picked up by a heavy wind is secured,” she said. “That includes tools, chemicals, trellising and planters.”
Keeping drainage systems clear of debris is an important task for doing your part to keep stormwater from causing floods
Preparation also means getting pets and livestock ready for a storm. AgCenter veterinarian Christine Navarre said animals should have vaccinations and a check-up if necessary.
“Healthy animals will be better prepared to handle the stress of relocation,” Navarre said.
Microchipping animals or having identification for them in some way will help if you are separated from your animals. Navarre recommended storing identification numbers online in the cloud so they can be retrieved from anywhere.
She also said to prepare an emergency to-go box that includes contact information for animals’ veterinarians, medications, feed and leashes. It also is important to get a pet used to its pet carrier before it is necessary for the animal to be transported in it.
More information can be found at the American Veterinary Medical Association’s website at https://www.avma.org/resources/pet-owners/emergencycare/pets-and-disasters.
Are you prepared to protect and transport your horses and livestock? LSU AgCenter equine specialist Neely Walker explains what you can do to be prepared for hurricane season.
Are you prepared to protect and transport your horses, livestock and pets? LSU AgCenter veterinarian Christine Navarre explains what you can do to be prepared for hurricane season.
Are you prepared to protect your yard and home? LSU AgCenter horticulturist Dan Gill explains what you can do to be prepared for hurricane season.
Do you have the food and water you need to survive during and after the storm? What about spoiled food? LSU AgCenter food safety expert Winnie Xu explains what you can do to make sure you're prepared for hurricane season.
The following includes current and archived news articles and publications about hurricane preparedness. While some of the information is old, it is still relevant and useful.
If your home’s roof was ever damaged by a storm, it doesn't have to happen again! This describes roofing products and installation methods that can survive.
A resilient home can be quickly restored at low cost to a safe, healthy, comfortable home after disasters -- more important now than ever during the pandemic.
Keep your home safe and secure with these five "S" home improvement projects that can prevent costly hurricane damages.
(05/26/20) The 2020 hurricane season could bring new challenges as Louisiana residents also navigate the realities of COVID-19.
(05/22/20) The 2020 Atlantic hurricane season will begin on June 1 and now is the time to prepare your yard, gardens and landscapes for bad weather.
(06/06/17) Hurricane season started June 1, and while Louisiana doesn’t often see storms this early in the season, it is important to be prepared.
It’s time to pull out your family disaster plan. Even if you don’t have one, there are still things you can do!
If your family has a plan for what you’d do in case of a hurricane or other disaster, now is the time to pull it out and review it. If you don’t, there’s still time to write your plan, LSU AgCenter disaster preparedness specialist Pat Skinner says.
(05/19/16) With hurricane season set to begin soon, it’s a good idea for Louisiana residents to make preparations for possible storm damage and recovery.
The phrase “wet floodproofing” may sound like a contradiction, but it is the label used to refer to a collection of methods intended to reduce damage to a building when flooding occurs. This publication explains how wet floodproofing lets water into the building but protects the structure, contents and building systems independently. (PDF format only)
All families in Louisiana should have a family disaster plan. This article provides information about developing a disaster plan for your family.
Flood cleanup bucket service projects by organizations, churches and other faith-based groups can help families in cleaning up their home after a flood disaster. This article provides information about what should be included in a flood cleanup bucket.
Vital preparation steps include developing an evacuation plan, preparing an emergency supply kit and preparing your home for the impending disaster.
From 15 to 40 percent of businesses fail following a natural or manmade disaster. Getting your business back in operation after a disaster often depends on emergency planning done today. A commitment to planning will help support employees, customers, the local community, the local economy and even our nation. It also protects your business investment and gives your operation a better chance for survival.
Information about preparing a child's evacuation to-go kit in anticipation of a disaster and possible family evacuation. Parents can help their child be a part of the preparation to evacuate prior to an approaching disaster and assemble this critically important material.
Talk with your family about any impending disaster. Family support and preparation can be key to successful readiness and future recovery.
Your home is one of the largest financial and emotional investments you are likely to make. Advanced planning and preparation can reduce flood damage to your home and belongings in times of disaster.
A collection of phone numbers for Louisiana state agencies, parish emergency management and law enforcement offices in the southern parishes, and national disaster information centers.
If you don’t have the right answers to this hurricane quiz, you may be flirting with disaster for your home or your family, cautions LSU AgCenter housing specialist Dr. Claudette Reichel.
You can reduce your expected damage from hurricanes by taking some steps to prepare.
If an evacuation or other emergency separates family and friends, you’ll want to find each other. Fill out a card for each close friend and relative. Carry it with you wherever you go.
Everyone will be able to cope better if you talk to your children early about hurricanes and get them involved in your plans and preparations, says LSU AgCenter family development specialist Dr. Diane Sasser. Discussing what hurricanes are, the dangers they pose and the safety measures to take against them can help to alleviate some of the fear and anxiety children and adults feel when a storm is approaching.