Early preparation is key as busy hurricane season predicted 

Several faith-based organizations have helped with recovery efforts since Hurricane Ida.

In light of the start of what’s expected by experts to be a very active hurricane season, it’s as important as ever for Louisiana residents to be prepared for any danger a potential major storm could cause. 

The St. Charles Parish government has a comprehensive hurricane preparedness guide available on its website – stcharlesparish.gov – to assist residents in getting a plan together for the season. 

Jason Tastet, the parish’s Director of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness, said it’s very important that residents do not procrastinate – the best way to get ready, in this case, is to stay ready. 

“Have an evacuation plan for the whole family, including pets, and gather important documents in one place,” Tastet said. “Residents should prepare their homes before a storm enters the gulf by clearing tree limbs, debris and other items that could become projectiles in high winds.”

Staying ready includes being set to leave town if an evacuation order is called for. 

“Residents must not wait until the last minute to prepare or to leave town,” Tastet said. “Those who choose to stay after an evacuation order is called put our emergency responders in a difficult and dangerous position, so we implore residents to leave when parish officials call for an evacuation. Having a generator at your home does not mean you should ignore evacuation orders.”

Complacency might not be as large a concern as in the past, given the destruction Hurricane Ida caused in 2021. Still, the instinct for many historically has been to ride out a large storm, and that could create major problems were the wrong conditions to arise.

“Evacuations are called because life-threatening conditions are expected,” Tastet said. “When residents stay, it is challenging for parish officials and first responders to get the community back to normal after a disaster.”

He noted residents can receive the latest information from the parish’s Emergency Operations Center via text by signing up for SCP Alerts. One can do so by texting SCPALERTS to 888-777. 

“St. Charles Parish has the only 24/7/365 EOC in the State, and we stay prepared for any emergencies that could arise,” Tastet said. 

According to the NOAA National Weather Service, forecasters project an 85 percent chance of an above-normal season, a 10 percent chance of a near-normal season and a 5 percent chance of a below-normal season.

With that comes a forecasted range of 17 to 25 total named storms with winds of 39 mph or higher. Of those, 8 to 13 are forecast to become hurricanes (winds of 74 mph or higher) including 4 to 7 major hurricanes (category 3, 4 or 5; with winds of 111 mph or higher). 

Forecasters have a 70 percent confidence in these ranges, according to NOAA, which also notes this hurricane season is expected to have above-normal activity due to a confluence of factors, including near-record warm ocean temperatures in the Atlantic Ocean, development of La Nina conditions in the Pacific, reduced Atlantic trade winds and less wind shear, all of which tend to favor tropical storm formation.

 

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