June 1st marks the beginning of hurricane season! Anyone in New Orleans who lived here during Hurricane Katrina immediately has their PTSD flare-up. Whether you are new to New Orleans or born and bred, hurricane preparation info is for everyone.
While that was a 100-year storm, as a New Orleanian, you need to be ready for everything from a tropical storm to a category 5. Here are our top tips:
#1. Plan an evacuation route.
Where are you going to head if a really big storm heads our way? Houston? Tennessee? Your friend’s house in Austin?
Having been raised in New Orleans, we rarely evacuated. But those times we did – we always went to Lake Charles or Houston. Surprise! So does everyone else!
I’m not telling you to avoid these areas. I’m getting you mentally ready for the amount of traffic you will sit in and how difficult it will be to get a hotel room.
The best thing to do – start calling for a reservation before you get to your evacuation spot.
PLEASE DO NOT LEAVE YOUR PETS BEHIND! Look here for pet-friendly hotels!
#2. Review your insurance policies now!
Once there is a named storm in the Gulf of Mexico, you will not be able to obtain flood or homeowners insurance. Check your insurance policies to make sure you have enough coverage for all your belongings. Determine if your policy covers wind damage as well.
#3. Get supplies
Batteries, bottled water, a generator, gas for the generator, non-perishable food items, first aid supplies, & a battery-operated radio are just some of the many items you should stockpile.
#4. Get your home ready
Do you have trees with dying limbs? Cut them down before a storm.
Do you have openings in your roof? Get it sealed.
Do you have large sliding glass doors? Get something to cover them.
Having been along a hurricane path my whole life, every time a storm comes, you will see people putting plywood over their windows. Do not wait until there is a storm to purchase this wood. Many home improvement stores run out and lines are very long.
Consider getting storm shutters to help better protect your home. Clean your catch basin to prevent it from backing up.
If your favorite local weatherperson (Shout out to Shelby Latino!) tells you to start preparing for a storm, here are my absolute must do’s:
- Fill up your car with gas
- Head to an ATM and get some cash
- Call your mama and ask what they’re doing
- Don’t panic (easier said than done)
- Get some ice and fill up your freezer
- Fill your prescriptions
- If you drink, get some booze. The stores will get low!
- Buy all the Bunny Bread
- Crank your air conditioning
- Charge your phone
If there is a storm heading our way: listen to your local weatherperson, pick up any non-secured items from your yard, and be careful when venturing out after the storm has passed. Power lines may be down and we don’t want you getting electrocuted!
If you’re going to evacuate, be sure to clean out your fridge ahead of time. After going into my parent’s house post-Katrina and smelling pounds of rotting crab meat, I will never leave a freezer full again when evacuating.