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10 WAYS TO PREPARE: The most important things you need to know | Page 18 What are the odds a hurricane will hit us this season? | Page 4 Here’s the plan in Terrebonne | Page 12 Here’s the plan in Lafourche | Page 13

2  Thursday, May 28, 2020  THE COURIER | DAILY COMET

THE COURIER | DAILY COMET  Thursday, May 28, 2020  3



CONTACT US 857-2200 EDITORIAL keith.magill@houmatoday.com ADVERTISING marian.long@houmatoday.com CIRCULATION lawrence.knoblock@dailycomet.com ONLINE houmatoday.com and dailycomet.com

The 2020 Hurricane Guide is created annually by The Courier and Daily Comet and distributed in the two newspapers. It is the official hurricane guide of Terrebonne and Lafourche parishes. ©2020 GANNETT

There’s a new normal for hurricane season, too


his hurricane season will demand more than usual from emergency officials and everyone who lives in Terrebonne and Lafourche parishes. The ongoing coronavirus pandemic will require everyone to adjust evacuations, shelters and other hurricane preparation, response and recovery efforts to prevent the spread of the highly contagious and deadly virus. Local and state officials have said for weeks now that people should not wait until a storm approaches to prepare. Take care of the basics now, like putting together a plan so you know where you and your family will go if an evacuation is ordered. Or stocking up on basic food, water and supplies. Residents also will need to follow news media and connect with parish emergency offices on social media like Facebook and Twitter so they are aware of any new

W H AT ' S I N S I D E Here are the odds a storm will hit us ............................................ 4 Contraflow: Which way will you go? ............................................. 6 Take this quiz to see if you’re ready ............................................. 7 Evacuating: When to leave and the best way out ....................... 8 Where to find sandbags and how to use them ............................ 9 How to safeguard your boat ........................................................ 10 Don’t believe these hurricane myths .......................................... 11 If you live in Terrebonne, here's what to do ............................... 12 Here's the plan for Lafourche ...................................................... 13 How to prepare your home .......................................................... 14

instructions that will be given as a storm approaches. And, as always, if an evacuation is ordered, leave without delay. “Evacuations are a necessary evil that we have to do,” Terrebonne Emergency Preparedness Director Earl Eues says in a story on page 12 of this guide. “You have a lesser chance of getting COVID than getting injured during a major hurricane. We have a new normal now, and there will be a new normal for evacuations also.” There are still a lot of unknowns this season. A lot depends, officials say, on how the state progresses with its phased-in approach to reopening businesses and loosening stay-at-home restrictions as the coronavirus pandemic continues. But it’s reasonable to expect that more shelters than normal could be needed as social-distancing requirements are put in place. Local officials already expect to use more buses to carry those who

need transportation to shelters in Monroe. Whether hotels are up and running at full capacity will play a role in how far some may have to travel to find a place to stay and how long it will take to get there. Hand-washing and six-foot socialdistancing will also come into play wherever evacuees go, including those who stay with family or friends. Hospitals, too, could face challenges, especially in areas where a major hurricane makes landfall. All of the uncertainty makes it vitally important that everyone prepare now and stay abreast of the latest plans as hurricane season progresses. This guide is a good place to start. And you can trust The Courier and Daily Comet to keep you informed along the way. Play it safe, everyone. Be prepared. – Executive Editor Keith Magill

Put your important stuff in a grab-and-go box .......................... 15 10 things you absolutely, positively need to know .................... 18 Know your storm vocabulary ....................................................... 20 Get your smartphone ready for an emergency ......................... 21 How to make a family disaster plan ........................................... 22 What to do in a power outage ..................................................... 24 How to cope with flooding ........................................................... 26 Storms pose multiple dangers .................................................... 28 Strengthening your house ............................................................ 29 Plan for your pets .......................................................................... 30 How to talk to kids about disasters ............................................ 31

4  Thursday, May 28, 2020  THE COURIER | DAILY COMET

Here are the odds a hurricane will hit us this season By Keith Magill Executive Editor


orecasters predict an above-average number of storms this hurricane season for the Gulf of Mexico and Atlantic. Colorado State University’s Tropical Meteorology Project predicts 16 named storms for the six-month season that starts June 1. Of those, eight will be hurricanes, including four that will reach Category 3 strength or higher. The research team, led by Philip J. Klotzbach, Michael M. Bell and Jhordanne Jones, says there’s a 44 percent chance a major hurricane, Category 3 or stronger, will

hit somewhere along the Gulf Coast from the Florida Panhandle to Brownsville, Texas. The average odds over the past century are 30 percent. A typical year, based on records dating back to 1966, brings 12 tropical storms. Of those, six are hurricanes and two are Category 3 or greater, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. About two hurricanes hit the U.S. during a typical season. The forecast, released in early April, is similar to one issued in early May by the commercial weather agency Accuweather. Its predicts 14-20 named storms, including seven to 11 hurricanes,

four to six of them major. “New climate model runs show a trend toward La Niña evolving during the second half of the upcoming summer,” said AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Dan Kottlowski, the company’s top hurricane expert. “This would suggest a decrease in the episodes of vertical wind shear, which can limit tropical development and intensification. This new information gives us more confidence of the potential – again, still potential – for a very active season.” Collaborative research by the Colorado State team and the GeoGraphics Laboratory at Bridgewater State University

in Massachusetts uses records for the entire 20th century along with expected weather conditions to predict the chance a hurricane will hit a given state, parish or county during the coming season. Their predictions: Louisiana: The state has 43% chance of being hit by one or more hurricanes and a 10% chance of being struck by a Category 3 or or higher. Terrebonne: There’s a 8.8% chance a hurricane will make landfall in the parish, 4% for a major one. Lafourche: The parish has a 3.2% chance of a hurricane landfall, 1.5% for a major one. All of those odds are above average.

There’s a 46% chance that tropical-storm-force winds of 39-73 mph will impact either parish, the research shows. Experts acknowledge that forecasting the number, severity or location of hurricanes before a season begins is an inexact science. Most use historical data and seasonal weather conditions to make an educated guess. “Coastal residents are reminded that it only takes one hurricane making landfall to make it an active season for them,” the Colorado State report says, “and they need to prepare the same for every season, regardless of how much activity is predicted.”


Est. 1977


Don’t wait last minute to check on your Homeowners and flood insurance THIBODAUX | 201 Canal Blvd. Ste B • 985-448-0431 CUTOFF | 360 HWY 3161 • 985-325-3188

THE COURIER | DAILY COMET  Thursday, May 28, 2020  5

We’re ready for the next storm. We want you to be ready, too. At Entergy Louisiana, preparing for storm season is a year-round commitment. That’s especially true during these uncertain times. The COVID-19 pandemic presents unique challenges to storm season this year, but we are prepared to ensure we have the people and resources needed to safely restore power as quickly as possible. No matter what the future holds, you can always depend on Entergy to be ready for the next storm. Learn how you can stay prepared at entergystormcenter.com.

A message from Entergy Louisiana, LLC ©2020 Entergy Services, LLC. All Rights Reserved.

6  Thursday, May 28, 2020  THE COURIER | DAILY COMET

Know these essential first-aid basics said. Bystanders can help even if they are not medical professionals. Plan ahead by having a first aid kit handy. Find out how to make your own at medlineplus. gov/ency/article/001958.htm. The idea is not to cure, it’s to keep a person’s condition from getting worse while help makes its way to you. “Small things can make a big difference,” Wedro said. Before helping others, assess your safety. “You’re part of the disaster, too,” he said. Look out for downed electrical wires or other dangers. Some basic techniques:

By Melissa Erickson More Content Now


ill you step up when someone needs medical attention? “Basic first aid skills can save lives and make life better for someone who is injured, but you have to be willing to help,” said Dr. Ben Wedro, an emergency physician at Gundersen Clinic in La Crosse, Wisconsin, and writer for MDdirect.org and WebMD. Triage, the process of quickly sorting people by who needs help first depending on their chance of survival, is the first step, Wedro said. First help yourself, then your family, then your neighbors, he said. Giving CPR can only make a difference if medical help is coming in the next hour or two, Wedro

will slow bleeding. A tourniquet can be used temporarily to stop the flow of blood but if kept on too long can lead to permanent damage. RICE treatment For small physical injuries like a sprain use the RICE method, Wedro said, which stands for: Rest the injured limb. Ice the injury. Compress with a bandage. Elevate. Clean a wound Pour plain tap water on a wound, Wedro said. Scrubbing is not necessary, but remove debris. Try to use gloves if possible to stop the spread of infection, and cover with gauze. To learn more first aid skills check out your local hospital or Redcross.org for nearby classes.

Stopping bleeding Put pressure on a wound to control bleeding, Wedro said. Elevating a wounded arm or leg

Which way will you go?

Officials will enact a so-called “contraflow” plan if a hurricane threatens Louisiana. All lanes on interstate highways will only allow traffic to flow one way: away from the storm.


Contraflow Crossover


I-10 West to I-59 North I-10 East to I-59 North 10

I-10 East to I-59 North (contraflow)






Lake Maurepas

I-10 West (contraflow) to I-10 West

5 mile

I-10 West to I-55 North to I-55 North (contraflow)

Lake Pontchartrain


Lake Pontchartrain Causeway


Mississippi River

I-12 to U.S. 190 West 61

Causeway to I-12 West to I-55 North




Lake Borgne


Source: maps4news.com/©HERE



Intracoastal Waterway



14 | Saturday and Sunday, June 1-2, 2019

to take care of family members maintained, and are the tires, your property and belongings? Are you ready for really a storm? with special needs, including including the spare, in good 6. Do you havethe copies of your Will Congress reform flood insurance program?

infants, the elderly or those condition? policies, inventory, other imporThe LSU AgCenter has now is the time to take with disabilities? 12. Do you have plan of whatat a disin a Management compiled a list of questions to Louisiana action. as keynote overhaul. tant papers and valuable By Steve Hardy Emergency flooda insurance It’s comparatively easy 17. Have you decided what you to do with food in your refrigsafe — one that’s waterto help you and your family speaker at a May 20 conThe Advocate (Baton Rouge) Wright, who isplace now CEO Agency needs to keep counted rate. However, to guard a home against will do with damage. your animals if you eratorto and freezer theagency event began proof Institute and fireproof? Haveto you determine whether you are ference 1. Do a disaster surof you the have Center for of the Insurance trying demonstrate in 2015,inthe wind Wright mustshowed evacuate? a possible power outage? putand themHome on a USBhomeowners drive you can theirofactual vivalResource plan? truly prepared for a — storm. BATON ROUGE Roy Natural Eco- for Business gradually increasing prephotos and video 18. Have budgeted for the 13. Is your emergency list takehe with you if you evacuate or 2. Have you planned an evacua“Havingdoesn’t the right answers Wright think nomics & Policy, which Safety, said hopes risk. miums sophone participants of ayou Florida neighboradded expenses protect your up to date and handy? them in the cloud? tion routeat and destination? before a storm comes your Congress possesses the was formed LSU 20 leaders willstored stop kicking “You can’t do anything would eventually pay the hood thattowas mostly home, buy supplies, by evacuate, you have emergency 7. Dothe youroad. know how to turn off risk 14. Do you have an emergency way can help youtobereform pre“political will” years 3. ago. the can down about your if Do you actual cost of insuring demolished Hurricleancane up and recover? as bat-based on your electricity, and water? communication plan pared if a hurricane strikes,” Congress the deeply indebted federal has kept thefor staying But he expressed doubts gas don’t understandsurvival it,” hesupplies their such property, Michael. Amidst the 19. Have yousix discussed your still teries, a battery 8. Dotoyou haveaa plan and supin touch or through getting messages to be able says AgCenter housing floodLSU insurance program in program afloat a they’ll reach remarked in an interview. their operated true riskradio, of flooding. debris, houses were emergency plans, dutiesweren’t and fuel, non-rates are plies on hand to protect and family? specialist Claudette Reichel. seriesfriends which many south Louisiof stopgap exten- consensus on fundamenF l o and o d i n s u r aflashlights, n c e i s lanterns, By 2022, “the standing. They rulesmansions with your family? perishable food forto three days, outdoor on all houses “Even if you’ve been throughs i o n s4.. Is Lyour ana families participate. a s thomeowners’ m o n t h , and tal changes.secure your home,required with going start to bite,” or bunkers or 20. Do you know they that the LSU water jugs,Wright manual said. can opener, items, pool and so forth? flood insurance a hurricane before, easy legislators The former headit’s of the agreed tocoverage keep Wright said if boat, he was a federally-backed mortfortresses; were built AgCenter offers publications medicines, traveler’s checks or their 9. Haslook your roof inspected up to date to charge, he’d to forget some the prepa- the program National FloodofInsurance upand andsufficient run- in for been gage located in high-risk If people know by volunteers working for and other free information cash, and forth on hand? within the pripast sixfloodplains, months? replace your rations that canwas protect yourning through Program, who on the thehome end and of belongways to lure more also known as so risk, they can make better Habitat for Humanity.onThe disaster cleanup and recovery 15.areas Do you have an emergency 10. Have youthe trimmed the flood trees hazard ings if they are damaged or companies property andBaton family.” ground in Rouge September while poli- vate into special decisions when shopping non-profit simply took a on its website, lsuagcenter. supply kit for your car? and shrubs around your house? destroyed? If you answer “no” or “I during the devastating ticians try to work out flood insurance business. and A zones. for a house or considering few extra steps to fortify 16. Do you have a plan he of how HasFederal your car been 5. Do you have an inventory don’t to any question,a more floodknow” of 2016, returned comprehensive He of also said11.the For years, FEMA sold upgrades, continued.com?the houses.

Louisiana emergency evacuation map




Stop here for information State officials have established a network of sites along major highways across Louisiana that will guide evacuating motorists to shelter, food, gas and other services. This list corresponds with the numbers on the map. 1. Tourist welcome center at the reentry from Mississippi on U.S. 64 and 84. Address: 1401 Carter St. (U.S. 184), Vidalia. 2. Tourist welcome center at the reentry from Mississippi on I-10.






167 49





Address 836 I-20 West, Tallulah. 3. Paragon Casino, for evacuees headed from the southeast area on La. 1. Address: 711 Paragon Place, Marksville. 4. Sammy’s Truck Stop, from the southeast and central areas on I-49. Address: Take I-49 to Exit 53. 3601 La. 115 West, Bunkie. 5. Med Express Office, from the southeast and central areas on U.S. 71. Address: 7525 U.S. 71, Alexandria. 6. P.E. Gym, LSU-Shreveport,






7 8

Evacuation phases






Baton Rouge


Lake Charles


Intercoastal waterway

Lafayette 90


New Orleans


10 miles

Sources: Louisiana Office of Emergency Preparedness; maps4news.com/©HERE

from the southeast, southwest and central areas on U.S. 171 and I-19. Address: 1 University Place, Shreveport. 7. Pickering High School, from the southwest areas on U.S. 171. Address: 180 Lebleu Road, Leesville. 8. Tourist information center, from the southwest and central areas on U.S. 165. Address: 8904 U.S. 165, Oberlin. 9. Maddie’s Truck Plaza, 15972, La. 1, Simmesport.


During the threat of a hurricane, a phased evacuation will be based on geographic location and time in which tropical storm winds are forecasted to reach the affected areas. Phase I: 50 hours before onset of tropical-storm winds. Includes areas south of the Intracoastal Waterway. These areas are outside any levee-protection system and are vulnerable to Category 1 and 2 storms. These areas are depicted in red on the Evacuation map. During Phase 1 there are no route restrictions. Phase II: 40 hours before onset of tropical-storm winds. Includes areas south of the Mississippi River which are levee protected but remain vulnerable to Category 2 or higher storms. These areas are depicted in orange on the Evacuation Map. During Phase II there are no route restrictions. Phase III: 30 hours before onset of tropical-storm winds. Includes areas on the East bank of the Mississippi River in the New Orleans Metropolitan Area which are in the levee-protection system but remain vulnerable to a slow-moving Category 3 or any Category 4 or 5 hurricane. These areas are depicted in brown on the Evacuation Map. During Phase III, certain routes will be directed and the Contraflow Plan will be implemented. • Phased evacuation procedures are for traffic management purposes only. Consult your local Office of Emergency Preparedness for further evacuation information.

8  May 28,Sunday, 2020  THE 12 Thursday, | Saturday and JuneCOURIER 1-2, 2019 | DAILY COMET


If officials order you to evacuate, just do it Lafayette

By Keith Magill

Hurricane evacuation routes

Executive Editor



issi s

Lake Pontchartrain


s ipp i



r ST. JAMES v e Ri

Officials say their biggest concern during hurricane season are the residents who don’t listen when the parish and the state call for them to move to safety. In fact, officials encourage residents to anticipate the call for evacuation and be ready to move immediately. Waiting too late will clog the few roads out of Terrebonne and Lafourche. Major evacuation routes such as La. 1 or U.S. 90 may become severely congested, preventing people from getting out in time and potentially putting them in the storm’s path. And routes out of the area, including U.S. 90 both east and west, can flood and become impassable as a storm’s winds push water inland from the Gulf of Mexico. “Plan to leave early — preferably during daytime and several hours ahead of your desired arrival time — because travel will be slow due to worsening weather and heavy traffic,” the state Office of Emergency Preparedness advises in Louisiana’s hurricane preparedness guide. “Be ready to use an alternate route to your shelter destination in case primary evacuation routes become too congested. Bring a map.” For Houma-Thibodaux area evacuations, State Police suggest taking La. 20 north to Vacherie to I-10; taking La. 1 to I-10 or La. 70 east; or taking U.S. 90 west. In most cases, officials advise residents against heading east to New Orleans, where traffic is heaviest
















Morgan City



Houma 315

Cut Off







Gulf of Mexico

5 miles

Driving and floods

Traffic backs up along westbound Interstate 10 as residents of the New Orleans area evacuate due to the threat of Hurricane Gustav on Aug. 30, 2008. Officials often advise residents against heading toward New Orleans when an evacuation is ordered to avoid the massive traffic congestion. [AP/FILE]

“Plan to leave early — preferably during daytime and several hours ahead of your desired arrival time — because travel will be slow due to worsening weather and heavy traffic. Be ready to use an alternate route to your shelter destination in case primary evacuation routes become too congested. Bring a map.” state Office of Emergency Preparedness advises in Louisiana’s hurricane preparedness guide

Louisiana’s most populous metro area evacuates. State officials advise residents to leave before contraflow, which is when traffic on Louisiana and some Mississippi interstates are ordered to only flow in

one direction, away from the storm’s path. State officials usually work with parish governments to determine a contraflow strategy depending on the hurricane’s speed, size and direction, as well as the traffic

situation at the time. Reasons abound as to why residents might stay behind despite a mandatory order. For instance, employers might refuse to let off their employees too early, though, in many cases, residents simply

If there is any question about how deep floodwater is, avoid driving through it. Beyond that, these guidelines apply: Water level below Water level above bottom of door bottom of door • Should you drive through it? Do • Should you drive not attempt through it? Generally • Should you start your car? Do not safe attempt, especially if the interior • Should you start your is wet; water could be drawn into car? Generally safe the combustion chambers and damage the engine

Door frame level Source: AAA

remain skeptical about the storm’s severity. Residents who choose to say during mandatory evacuation put themselves and their families at risk during a time when emergency responders might not be readily available. Typically, a voluntary evacuation for low-lying areas is issued when it comes


to Category 1 or 2 hurricanes. Above that, the order becomes mandatory for the entire parish. The last evacuation called for both parishes was in 2008 for Hurricane Gustav. Officials said most Lafourche residents heeded warnings and left. In Terrebonne, an estimated 95 percent to 97 percent evacuated.

THE COURIER | DAILY COMET  Thursday, May1-2, 28, 2019 2020  | 933 Saturday andSunday, Sunday,June June Saturday and 1-2, 2019 | 33


Where to fi nd sandbags find and and how how to to use use them them Using Using sandbags Using sandbags sandbagsisis isone of the most inexpensive one one of of the the most most inexinexand effective ways to pensive and pensive and effective effective prepare ways prepare against ways to to against prepareflooding. against Terrebonne and flooding. flooding. Lafourche parish Terrebonne and Terrebonne andgovernments make sandLafourche parish Lafourche parish bags availablemake to resigovernments governments make dents before stormsto hit. sandbags available sandbags available to You may have to fill your residents residents before before storms storms own sandbags; bring hit. may to hit. You You may have have toa shovel. fill fill your your own own sandbags; sandbags; Below are the locations bring aa shovel. bring shovel. that usually sandBelow the Below are areoffer the localocabags. Additional temtions tions that that usually usually offer offer porary locations may be sandbags. Additional sandbags. Additional added as needed. temporary locations temporary locations Not all locations will may be be added added as needed. needed. may as have sandbags for every Not all all locations locations will will Not storm, so checkfor with The have sandbags sandbags have for Courier and Daily Comet every storm, storm, so check check every so if a storm approaches with The The Courier Courier and andfor with up-to-date information. Daily Comet Comet if if aa storm storm Daily approaches for for up-toup-toapproaches TERREBONNE date information. information. date   •TERREBONNE Bobtown Fire StaTERREBONNE tion, 4717 Grand • Bobtown FireCaillou Sta• Bobtown Fire StaRoad. tion, 4717 Grand Caillou tion, 4717 Grand Caillou • Mechanicville Gym, Road. Road. 2814 Senator St., Houma. Mechanicville ••• Mechanicville Houma-Terrebonne Gym, 2814 Senator Senator St., St., Gym, 2814 Civic Center, 346 Civic Houma. Houma. Center Blvd., Houma. Houma-Terrebonne ••• Houma-Terrebonne Upper Dularge Fire Civic Center, Center, 346 Civic Civic Civic 346 Station, 1767 Bayou Center Blvd., Houma. Center Blvd., Houma. Dularge Road. Upper Dularge Fire Fire ••• Upper Dularge Bayou Black Fire StaStation, 1767 Bayou Station, 1767 BayouRoad. tion, 2820 Savanne Dularge Road. Dularge Road. •• Houma Airbase Adult Bayou Black Black Fire Fire • Bayou Softball Complex, 9544 Station, 2820 2820 Savanne Station, East Main St. Savanne Road. Road. • Pointe-aux-Chenes Houma Airbase Airbase •• Houma Knights of Columbus Adult Softball Complex, Adult Softball Complex, Hall, 1558 La. 655. 9544 East Main St. 9544 East St. •• St. AnnMain Catholic Pointe-aux-Chenes • Pointe-aux-Chenes Church, 4355 La. 24, Knights of of Columbus Columbus Knights Bourg. Hall, 1558 La. 655. Hall, 1558 7La. 655. •• Ward Citizens’ St. Ann Catholic • St.5006 Ann La. Catholic Club, 56,24, Church, 4355 La. La. Church, 4355 24, Chauvin. Bourg. Bourg. •• Cannata’s supermarWard 77 Citizens’ Citizens’ • Ward ket, 6307 W.La. Park Club, 5006 56,Ave., Club, 5006 La. 56, Houma. Chauvin. Chauvin. • Devon Keller MemoCannata’s super•• Cannata’s superrial Center, 5575 Bayou market, 6307 6307 W. W. Park Park market, Black Road, Gibson. Ave., Houma. Ave., Houma.

Follow us on Twitter. We’re at @HoumaToday and @DailyComet.

Susan Buress and Eric Pinell load sandbags sandbags in in Houma Houma in in preparation for Hurricane Isaac in August August 2012. 2012. [THE [THE COURIER COURIER AND AND DAILY COMET/FILE]

• Devon Keller Memo• Gibson East Fire Starial Center, 5575 Bayou tion, 5218 N. Bayou Black Black Road, Gibson. Road. • Gibson East Fire • West Terrebonne Station, 5218 N. Bayou Fire Station, 110 Merry Black Road. Moss St., Gibson. • West Terrebonne • Montegut Fire StaFire Station, 110 Merry tion, 1105 La. 55, MonMoss St., Gibson. tegut. • Montegut Fire • Village East Fire StaStation, La. 55, tion, 1001105 Development Montegut. St., Houma.East Fire Sta• Village • Donner Community tion, 100361 Development Center, Azalea Drive, St., Houma. Donner. • Donner Community • Public Center, 361Works AzaleaNorth Drive, Campus, 206 GovernDonner. Donner. ment St., Gray. Public Works North •• Public Works North Campus, 206 GovernGovernCampus, 206 LAFOURCHE ment St., St., Gray. Gray. ment LAFOURCHE LAFOURCHE • Thibodaux Thibodaux Field Field •• Thibodaux Field Office, 2565 Office, 2565 Veterans Veterans Office, 2565 Veterans Blvd. Blvd. Blvd. • Choctaw Choctaw Field Field Office, Office, •• Choctaw Choctaw Field Office, 122 Barn 122 Choctaw Choctaw Barn Barn Road. Road. 122 Road. •• Raceland Field Raceland Field Field • Raceland Office, 129 Texas St. Office, 129 Texas St. Office, 129 Texas St. •• Lockport Field Lockport Field • Lockport Field Office, Office,6236 6236La. La.308. 308. Office, 6236 La. 308. •• Bayou Blue Field Bayou Blue Field • Bayou Blue Field Office, Office,104 104Myrtle MyrtlePlace. Office, 104 Myrtle • Galliano-Cut Off Place. Place. Field Office, 128 W. 97th Galliano-Cut Off •• Galliano-Cut Off St. Field Office, 128 W. Field Office, 128 W. 97th St. St. 97th HOW TO FILL A   SANDBAG


The Terrebonne Terrebonne The

Readiness and and AssisAssisiness Assistance tanceand Coalition, Coalition, aa Coalition, a nonprofit nonprofit comprised comprised comprised of groups of groups in in TerreTerrein Terrebonne and bonne and Lafourche, Lafourche, Lafourche, suggests: suggests: •• It’s job, It’s aatwo-person two-person two-person one hold bag open job,to one to the hold the bag hold the bag and toone fill. fill. openone and one to to fill. •• Sand Sand is isabrasive; abrasive; abrasive; wear wear gloves. gloves. gloves. •• It toto It isn’t isn’tnecessary necessary necessary to tie the end of the bag. tie the end of the bag. of the bag. •• Remove any debris Remove any debris Remove any debris from the area there the from the area there the area there the bags placed. bags are areto tobe be placed. be placed. •• Lift Lift the the sandbags sandbags sandbags from their neck, place from their neck, place from their neck, place the half-filled bags the half-filled bags the half-filled bags length-ways across the length-ways across length-ways across the the doorway and paraldoorway and paraldoorway and parallel to the direction of lel the of lel to to the direction direction of the water flow. Tuck the water flow. Tuck the water flow. Tuck the open end under the the end under the the open open end under the filled half of the bag and filled half of the bag and filled half of the bag and position it pointing into position it pointing into position it pointing into the water flow. Ensure itit the water flow. Ensure the waterin flow. Ensure it is bedded against the is bedded in against the is bedded in against the door frame. door frame. door frame. •• Place bags in layers. Place bags in layers. • Place bags inmake layers. Like a brick wall, Like a brick wall, make Likein a brick wall, make sure the next layer, sure in the next layer, sure in the next layer, each bag overlaps the one each overlaps each bag bag overlaps the the below by half. one below by one belowbags by half. half. •• Stamp firmly Stamp bags firmly • Stamp bags firmly into place to eliminate into place to eliminate into place to eliminate gaps and create a tight gaps gaps and and create create aa tight tight seal. seal. seal. TheThe Courier and Courier TheComet Courier and and Daily Daily Daily Comet Comet

ARE YOU READY FOR A STORM? Reliableinformation informationisis Reliable key keyto toprotecting protectingyour yourfamily family and andproperty propertybefore, before,during during and andafter afteraadisaster. disaster. Research-based information can Research-based information canhelp helpyou you Your Best prepare Source for preparefor forand andrecover recoverfrom fromthe theproblems problems created Home Insurance createdby bystorms, storms,floods floodsor orother other catastrophic events. The LSU catastrophic events. The LSUAgCenter 412 Canal Boulevard • P.O. Drawer 1238 • Thibodaux, LA 70302 |AgCenter (985) 447-2625 offers offersaaseries seriesof ofguides, guides,fact factsheets, sheets, workshops workshopsand andother otheruseful usefulinformation information available availableonline onlineor orby bycontacting contactingyour your parish parishLSU LSUAgCenter AgCenterExtension ExtensionService Service office. office. 2S2S HUHU DWDW LQLQ JJ DD &K&K DLDL QVQV DZDZ 6DI 6DI .LF.LF HOHO NEDNED \\ FN FN Chain Chain sawssaws toolstools are are for both for both and profe popu home popu lar lar and profe owneowne ssionals home they they rs havehave ssion beca als beca so many – tree use rs so many – tree trimm usesusesuse KickbKickb ¿rew¿rew trimm ing, cuttin ood,ood, ack ack ing, cuttin or is or cleanclean afterafter g pinch is pinchoccu occu rs storm when towatowa rs when ing up g storm ing up ed, caus chainchain rd therded, caus the the s, Altho saws s, etc. all smal opera the etc. ugh the tor.ing ing the saw chain saw chain are poten all smal are hand l home opera and grabs are saws bar are Altho Low- bar ugh

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Stay Safe During This Hurricane Season

Call Callor orvisit visityour yourparish parishLSU LSUAgCenter AgCenter Ext Extension Service Ext Extension Serviceoffice officefor foraafree freeStorm Storm Re Recovery Re RecoveryGuide Guideand andother otherdisaster disaster inf information publications. inf information publications. AAssumption Assumption ................ A ................985-369-6386 985-369-6386 JJefferson Jefferson .................... J ....................504-736-6519 504-736-6519 L Lafourche .................. 985-446-1316 L Lafourche .................. 985-446-1316 A & H PAINT, INC. | Flooring • Blinds • Shutters OOrleans Orleans ...................... 504-658-2900 O ...................... 504-658-2900 751 West Bayou Road, Thibodaux, LA 70301 Plaquemines P Plaquemines.............. ..............504-934-6975 504-934-6975 P 985-448-1148 SSt. Charles.................. ..................985-785-4473 985-785-4473 SSt.Charles St. James .................... 225-562-2320 St. James .................... 225-562-2320 St. St.John John ...................... ......................985-497-3261 985-497-3261 St. Martin.................... St. Martin....................337-332-2181 337-332-2181 St. St.Mary Mary...................... ......................337-828-4100 337-828-4100 Terrebonne Terrebonne................ ................985-873-6495 985-873-6495

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10 SaturdayMay and28, Sunday, 2019 | DAILY COMET 10  |Thursday, 2020  June THE1-2, COURIER


Safeguard your boat Decide before hurricane season what to do with your boat if a storm threatens. “Even a Category 1 hurricane, with winds between 74 and 95 miles per hour and a storm surge of 4 to 5 feet above normal, can have devastating effects in a crowded harbor,” says Brian LeBlanc, an associate professor with the LSU AgCenter. “You need to consider your situation, determine the safest place for the vessel to ride out a storm, think about the adequacy of the present mooring or dock and evaluate what type of equipment is necessary to have onboard,” he says. “Then put those decisions into play well in advance of the approaching storm.” LeBlanc stresses protecting human life Todd (from left), John and Leroy Foret unload a generator from a boat while Evan Foret, 6, watches in Chauvin. The Forets is the most important were preparing for Hurricane Isaac in August 2012. [THE COURIER AND DAILY COMET/FILE] factor. “Storms of the “Storms of the magnitude of Katrina or Rita can magnitude of Katrina or as large tent pegs or house protection is in place override even the best precautions. If you cannot Rita can override even trailer tie-downs, to hold where dock lines pass the best precautions,” he get your vessel out of harm’s way, secure it the best the boat in position, and through fairlead chocks you can, then get you and your family out.” says. “If you cannot get make sure the drain plug is or over the sides of the your vessel out of harm’s removed. vessel. The best chafing Brian LeBlanc way, secure it the best protection is to cover you can, then get you and associate professor with the LSU AgCenter Bigger boats lines with a rubber hose your family out.” of the same diameter Only boat owners can water in a covered area with water if the hull is If you can't remove the and then tightly wind it decide what is best for such as a garage or other strong enough to withstand vessel from the water with fabric and fasten them, but he offers these dry storage facility. the weight, as are most because of its size or with heavy tape. A vessel general suggestions: • If it is not possible fiberglass hulls. Also, other conditions, LeBlanc tied to a dock also should • The best choice, if to store your boat inside secure your boat with offers these tips: have ample fenders to possible, is to get your a shelter, remove all heavy lines to fixed objects • Keeping a boat at the provide protection to the boat out of the water. If equipment and store that from four directions, if dock may be the most hull. Dock lines should the vessel is small and can indoors. If you have it on possible, in case storm hazardous location, even be fastened to the pilings be easily transported on a a trailer, place the trailer surge hits the area. If the during moderate storms. rather than to the cleats trailer, move it to higher frame on blocks so the hull is not strong enough Many marinas have or other fastenings on ground. frame, instead of the axle to hold water, use heavy particular guidelines you the dock. As flooding • Store the boat in a and springs, will carry the lines to fixed objects must follow; learn those and storm surge raise the covered area. The best boat’s weight. The drain from four directions, if in advance. If possible, water level, dock lines solution is to store small plug should be installed available, or use multiple ensure all lines are will move up the pilings. vessels removed from the and the boat partially filled anchor tie-downs, such doubled and that chafing Do not stay on board.

• Minimize the amount of surface area exposed to wind. Whether the boat stays at the dock or mooring strain on your vessel and the dock mooring increases as more surface area is exposed to the wind. • To minimize the impact of loose boats, remove and stow all protruding objects such as anchors. Fenders should be set on both sides of the boat. • If you elect to stay aboard — which is not advisable — stay in touch with weather advisories and stock up on fuel, water, food, ice, clothing, portable radio, flashlights, extra batteries and prescription medications. It might be necessary to put the engine in gear during the worst part of the storm to ease the strain on the anchor line, so stay awake at all times to prevent the boat from drifting. • Do not attempt to take your boat offshore when a storm is approaching. Insurance Tips from State Farm: • Make sure your insurance policy is up-to-date. • Keep boat insurance policies, photos of your vessel from every angloe, registration, equipment inventory, contact phone numbers and other essential documents in a safe, secure location on dry land. Store copies on a USB drive or in the cloud using a service such as Google Drive or Dropbox.

THE COURIER | DAILY COMET  May1-2, 28,2019 2020 | 11 Saturday and Thursday, Sunday, June 15


Don’t believe these hurricane myths

Devin Cadiere shovels water Aug. 30, 2012, out of Bayou Florist in Galliano, which lost its roof during Hurricane Isaac. [THE COURIER AND DAILY COMET/FILE]

once buffered inland communities continue to erode. Public officials have constantly urged every home and business owner to have flood

insurance, which in many cases only costs a few hundred dollars a year compared with the tens of thousands it will cost to replace your


There’s nothing natural about a disaster.

building and its contents. Myth: Our levees will protect us. Fact: Maybe, maybe not. None of the levees in Terrebonne and Lafourche parishes are certified by the Army Corps of Engineers to protect against a direct hit from a hurricane. Local officials say the levees, including the ring levee in south Lafourche and the Morganza levees in Terrebonne, will likely protect inland communities from flooding caused by passing storms that don't hit the area directly. Bottom line: Levee protection is better than ever, but there is no guarantee

they will hold against any specific storm. And local officials have consistently warned that protection could falter from a direct hit. Myth: You can’t buy flood insurance if you are in a high-flood-risk-area. Fact: You can buy flood insurance no matter where you live if your community participates in the National Flood Insurance Program, as Terrebonne, Lafourche and all surrounding parishes do. Myth: You can’t buy flood insurance immediately before or during a flood. Fact: You can purchase flood coverage anytime.

There is a 30-day waiting period after you’ve applied and paid the premium before the policy is effective, with few exceptions. Visit floodsmart. gov for details. Myth: Homeowner’s insurance policies cover flooding. Fact: Unfortunately, many homeowners do not find out until it is too late that their homeowner’s policies do not cover flood damage. Only flood insurance does. Sources: Institute for Business and Home Safety, FEMA, Courier and Daily Comet staff reports

As your local Allstate Agent, I understand how a disaster can turn your world upside down. I am here to help you through the recovery process and get your life back to normal as quickly as possible. Contact me today to learn more.

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If you’re relying on taped-up windows instead of flood insurance to protect your home from a hurricane, you’ll want to learn more about these common myths. Myth: It’s never flooded at my house before, so it won’t flood this time. Fact: That’s such a common refrain among local flood victims for each successive hurricane that it has become a cliche. Every single home in Terrebonne and Lafourche is threatened by the wind, flood, rain or all three, more so as coastal marshes, wetlands and barrier islands that

12  Thursday, May 28, 2020  THE COURIER | DAILY COMET

If you live in Terrebonne, here’s what to do the Terrebonne Council on Aging at 868-8411. Residents are encouraged to take their pets with them during an evacuation. Before an emergency, owners should get a pet carrier, vaccinate their pets yearly, provide identification for their animals and take clear photos of their pets. Pet owners should also procure an emergency kit containing food, water, medications, important documents and toys.

By Dan Copp Staff Writer

Emergency officials are prepping for a potentially busy storm season as the community continues to battle the coronavirus pandemic. Because of this, Terrebonne Emergency Preparedness Director Earl Eues said this year’s hurricane plan will be different. “There are going to be some challenges,” Eues said. “We’re doing our best to try and accommodate everyone to make sure that COVID19 won’t be spread during an evacuation.” Evacuees, including special-needs cases, will require more buses to keep residents a safe distance apart. Moving coronavirus patients on ventilators could become a major endeavor that would require action well before a storm approaches, Eues said. “We’ll have to use more buses than usual to keep people apart,” he said. “We also have a supply of masks set aside in the event of a mass evacuation and will have them available for those in the shelters. “When we do the evacuation, we may have to take temperatures on people getting on the buses. Those who have a temperature may all have to go on a different bus to stay apart from those who don’t. When we get to the shelters, we may also have to separate people based on their temperatures.” Like during previous storm seasons, Eues encourages residents to visit the Terrebonne Office of Emergency Preparedness’ Facebook page and follow the agency on Twitter @TOHSEP. Connect with Terrebonne’s 911’s Facebook page as well. In the event of a storm, officials will provide timely


A fire truck inches through floodwater July 13 on Pointe-aux-Chenes Road. Parish officials recommended residents evacuate the small community southern Terrebonne Parish as tides from then-Tropical Storm Barry moved in from the Gulf of Mexico. [THE COURIER AND DAILY COMET/FILE]

updates and breaking information. Terrebonne Parish will also issue severe weather alerts to mobile devices. To register for those alerts, visit tohsep.com/terrebonnealert. Residents can create free online profiles so firstresponders can help them during an emergency. Visit smart911.com. Name, phone number and email addresses are required to create a profile, but users can enter other information such as age, floor plans and the names of family members. When dialing 911, information from the profile appears on the call-taker’s screen. ABOUT EVACUATIONS A joint command team comprised of Eues, the parish

president, sheriff and School Board monitors storms as they enter the Gulf of Mexico. The team decides on closures and evacuations and works with emergency officials to prepare for potential problems. Residents are urged to create a personal evacuation plan and remember that traffic across the state will change due to large-scale evacuations, Eues said. Families should come up with an evacuation route ahead of time and a place where they can meet if they become separated. For storms weaker than a Category 2 hurricane, officials will open a shelter somewhere in the parish. Those possible shelters include Gibson and Schriever recreation centers, Schriever Elementary, Dumas

Auditorium and Evergreen Junior High. STRONGER STORMS If Terrebonne is threatened by a Category 3 or higher, a parishwide pickup point will be organized at H.L. Bourgeois High School at 1 Reservation Court in Gray. Residents who need transportation can either drive there or be picked up by buses throughout the parish’s major streets. Once there, residents and their pets will be entered into the parish’s evacuation registration system and bused to a Monroe shelter. No prior signup is required. If you need assistance getting to the pickup point, officials are asking for advance registrations with

Business owners who want to return to Terrebonne to assess damages and make repairs must obtain an early re-entry permit from the Office of Emergency Preparedness. To register, visit parishreentry.com and select “Terrebonne.” For information, call 873-6357. A major storm that causes a lot of damage including downed power lines and scattered debris could prevent residents from returning for several days or even weeks, Eues said. Residents without early entry passes are usually not allowed to return until evacuation orders are lifted by the parish president. Though the coronavirus outbreak complicates hurricane season, Eues encouraged residents to evacuate when the need arises. “Evacuations are a necessary evil that we have to do,” he said. “You have a lesser chance of getting COVID than getting injured during a major hurricane. We have a new normal now, and there will be a new normal for evacuations also.” Staff Writer Dan Copp can be reached at 448-7639 or at dan.copp@houmatoday.com. Follow him on Twitter @DanVCopp.

THE COURIER | DAILY COMET  Thursday, May 28, 2020  13

Here’s what you need to know if you live in Lafourche By Dan Copp Staff Writer

This hurricane season will be unlike any other. Because of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, local officials fear a major storm could severely strain the ability of emergency workers to protect lives. Though Lafourche has not had an evacuation in quite some time, Parish President Archie Chaisson said this would not be the ideal time. “It would be like juggling a few different balls at the same time,” he said. “We’ve done everything we can to stay on top of hurricane season, which is right around the corner. Parish government will make sure we’re continuing to maintain our pumps and drainage. In case we do get an early storm that sneaks up on us, we know we’re ready for it.” Lafourche officials are ironing out a plan to handle coronavirus patients if a storm forces an evacuation, Chaisson said. “We’ll make sure we’ll have enough masks and gloves to ensure people are protected,” he said in April. “Those discussions are going to happen pretty soon because hurricane season is going to be here before we know it.” Chris Boudreaux, emergency preparedness director for Lafourche, said some residents may be asked to wear a face mask to prevent spread of the virus. “We may ask for citizens to wear masks, but it all depends on what phase the state will be in and the recommendations the Department of Health and CDC give us when it is time to call the evacuations,” he said. The Lafourche Emergency Preparedness Office, Sheriff’s Office, Thibodaux and Lockport police departments, Greater Lafourche Port Commission, Harbor

Police block part of La. 1 on July 13 near Thibodaux, about a mile south of the St. Charles Bypass, as crews deal with damaged power lines as Hurricane Barry affected the area. [THE COURIER AND DAILY COMET/FILE]

Police, ambulance services, local hospitals and area fire departments are tasked with providing the public with information during a storm. Residents can download the Alert FM app on their smartphones for weather alerts and other emergency notifications. The Sheriff’s Office recently created a free mobile app that can also be downloaded. You can register for emergency notifications at Lafourche.org and click “Emergency Information” at the bottom of the page. Once on the Emergency Preparedness page, click “sign up for emergency notifications.” The parish social media pages like facebook.com/ Lafourchegov and twitter/

com/lafourchegov are also updated during storms. In the event of an evacuation, residents who need help getting to shelters can call emergency preparedness clerk Ann Bruno at 532-8147 or brunoaf@lafourchegov. org. For hurricanes stronger than Category 3, Lafourche may open shelters at any of these locations: • Central Lafourche High, 4820 La. 1, Raceland. • Thibodaux High, 1355 Tiger Drive, Thibodaux. • Raceland Recreation Center, 241 Recreation Drive, Raceland. Major storms may call for an evacuation. Those without transportation will be bused

to three recreation buildings in Monroe, Boudreaux said. Residents with pets must to have a carrier with them to travel on the buses. Pet carriers need to be able to fit on a lap or bus seat. After the storm passes, the parish will decide when it’s safe for residents to return based on the severity of the damage. Businesses can register with the parish’s re-entry system at www.parishreentry.com/ lafourche. The site allows business owners and others to undergo pre-screening when a limited number of people are allowed to return to the parish to assess damages. The parish e-notifications, Everbridge and the Alert FM

app are the most effective ways to learn when it’s safe to return to Lafourche, officials said. Residents with special needs or their caregivers are asked to call the Emergency Preparedness Office at 532-8174 to set up available resources in the event of an evacuation. To find out about road closures, call Louisiana State Police at 1-800-469-4828. For information about other ways to prepare for hurricane season, visit lafourchegov. org/prepare. Staff Writer Dan Copp can be reached at 448-7639 or at dan.copp@houmatoday.com. Follow him on Twitter @DanVCopp.


Saturday and Sunday, June 1-2, 2019 | 7

14  Thursday, May 28, 2020  THE COURIER | DAILY COMET

Preparing for a hurricane Fill swimming pools a foot below their edge. Cover the filter pump and turn off the electricity. Add additional chlorine.

Anchor secure outdoor items.

Set the refrigerator on maximum cold. Do not open unless necessary.

Lower antennas.

Insert wedges in sliding patio doors.

Stay in a central room or on the downwind side of the house. Prune dead or dying tree limbs. Park your vehicle against the garage door and make sure you have a full tank of gas.

Secure garage and porch doors. Bring all pets indoors.

Move furniture away from exposed windows and doors.

Fill bathtubs and sinks with water in case water supply is interrupted; turn off main water to the house.

Install storm panels or shutters over windows and openings. Tape exposed glass.

Source: National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration; Federal Emergency Management Agency

Turn off the main gas valve and electricity before the storm hits. Use flashlights.



Saturday and Thursday, Sunday, June 23 THE COURIER | DAILY COMET  May1-2, 28,2019 2020 | 15

Prepare a grab-and-go box Here’s what to put in it numbers including family members, It’s possible to doctors, pharmacies, replace birth and financial advisers, death certificates, clergy and repair tax records, banking contractors. Keep those information, wills, in your cellphone too. medical information, • Copies of important deeds and other prescriptions such important documents as medication and should they be lost or eyeglasses. destroyed. • A cellphone charger But it’s a lot easier to and cable. protect them instead. • Copies of children’s The LSU AgCenter immunization records. has developed a guide to • Copies of health, building a collection of dental and prescription records and documents insurance cards and — a “grab-and-go phone numbers. box” — modeled off • Copies of auto, similar suggestions flood, renters and from other Gulf Coast homeowners insurance states. Place paper policies or at least the records in portable policy numbers. boxes that are durable, • Insurance company sealed, fireproof and telephone numbers, waterproof. Papers in including numbers the box should be sealed for local agents and in waterproof plastic company headquarters. bags. The AgCenter • Copies of realalso recommends a estate deeds, vehicle backpack, preferably titles, wills, durable waterproof, for easier power of attorney, carrying. health care directives, As a backup, put stock and bond copies of these records certificates and birth, on a USB thumb drive death, adoption, or upload them to the citizenship and cloud using a service marriage certificates. like Dropbox or Google • Copies of a home Drive. Unless you inventory. absolutely need paper • Copies of passports. copies, this can not • Copies of employee only save plenty of time benefit documents. as you evacuate but • Copies of the make your go box more first two pages of the manageable. previous year’s federal Gathering and storing and state income-tax personal records also returns. can help you recover in • Keys to any safecase of other disasters, deposit box. such as fires. • List of numbers Your box should for Social Security, include the following: bank accounts, loans, • Traveler’s checks or credit cards, driver’s cash. licenses and investment • Rolls of quarters. accounts. • Emergency phone • Usernames and

Volunteers pass sandbags to help secure a pump station in Chauvin on Sept. 13, 2008, hours after Hurricane Ike hit. Water from Lake Boudreaux was rushing under the station and flooding parts of the community in southern Terrebonne Parish. [THE COURIER AND DAILY COMET/FILE]

passwords. • Photocopies of the front and back of all credit cards. Store the box or backpack in safe, outof-sight spot in your home. When evacuating, keep the box with you all times and avoid leaving the information in unattended vehicles. It’s a good idea to keep originals of personal documents in the grab-and-go box with a trusted friend or relative who lives outside the hurricane zone. Having access to personal information can help you avoid extra hassles following disasters, such as missing payments and damaging credit ratings. The records also can make filing FEMA claims easier. Replacing most personal information is doable but can take months.

16  Thursday, May 28, 2020  THE COURIER | DAILY COMET

THE COURIER | DAILY COMET  Thursday, May 28, 2020  17




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18  Thursday, May 28, 2020  THE COURIER | DAILY COMET

10 WAYS TO PREPARE How to protect your family, pets and property

A resident walks through a flooded field in Montegut July 13 after Hurricane Barry’s storm surge overtopped a levee that had been undergoing upgrades in the area. [THE COURIER AND DAILY COMET/FILE]


reparation is crucial when it comes to hurricane season, which runs June 1 through Nov. 30. Follow these 10 tips and you’ll go a long way toward ensuring you and your loved ones stay safe and your property is as secure as possible. 1. Make a plan now Officials from both parishes maintain the most important thing residents can do to ease stress during a storm is to have a plan. Start by visiting

getagameplan.org, run by the state Office of Emergency Preparedness. Determine where you and your family will go, what you will bring, how you’ll get there and what you will do with elderly or special-needs family members as well as pets. Keep phone numbers for hotels on hand to check rates and book rooms in advance. Traveling to a friend or family member’s home usually is the best plan if their homes are structurally safe and outside the risk area. As a last resort, go to a

designated shelter. 2. Buy flood insurance and review your homeowner’s policy You can buy a National Flood Insurance policy through most local insurance agents. Officials say many residents are unaware that flood insurance isn't automatically included in a homeowner’s policy. Because there’s a 30-day waiting period before flood insurance takes effect, officials recommend buying it as soon as possible. Keep

an electronic copy that can be accessed easily, either on a USB drive you can take with you if an evacuation is ordered or stored in the cloud with a service like Dropbox or Google Drive. Review your homeowner’s policy to ensure it offers adequate coverage against wind damage and hail. Like flood insurance, that coverage might not be included in your homeowner’s policy and may have to be purchased separately. Other tips are to save your insurance agent’s number in your mobile phone and use a

video or camera to document everything in your house so you can use to file damage claims. 3. Prepare a disaster kit now Keep documents, keepsakes, clothing, medicine, food and a first-aid kit in an easy-access storage area so when it’s time to pack, they’re ready to go. Keep copies of prescriptions and, if possible, have your doctor supply additional refills ahead of time. Also, make sure to stock up on water.

THE COURIER | DAILY COMET  Thursday, May 28, 2020  19

4. Leave early and stay tuned Leaving before state officials enact contraflow, routing interstate one way, away from the storm, will make it easier to find safety. Make sure you have enough fuel and other supplies for a lengthy time on the road. Also, make sure your vehicle is in safe condition. Check your tires and spares and keep a jack in the car. Monitor local television and radio stations to stay current on evacuation routes, traffic and storm conditions. The Courier and Daily Comet’s websites, houmatoday. com and dailycomet.com, are the best source of local news on the storm. On Facebook, check the newspapers' pages along with those of parish and state emergency preparedness offices. This year, you will also need to stay abreast of local media and reports from state and local emergency preparedness officials as they adjust any hurricane evacuation plans to deal simultaneously with the coronavirus pandemic. 5. Plan for special needs Check with elderly family members to find out their disaster plans and prepare places for them to go ahead of time. If you have a family member in a nursing home or hospital, ask now about that facility’s plans for a hurricane -- whether it plans to evacuate patients or residents, how it plans to evacuate them, where it will take them and other specific questions. Make sure special needs family members have medicine, prescription refills, any special foods they require, health insurance policy information and phone numbers for local Councils on Aging, 868-8401 in Terrebonne and 537-3446 in Lafourche.

Terrebonne Parish officials respond to water overtopping the levee in Montegut in July as Hurricane Barry made landfall. [THE COURIER AND DAILY COMET/FILE]

6. Plan for pets Have at least five days’ worth of food, water, treats and medications for each pet. Keep up-to-date medical records, including vaccinations, as well as an ID collar, pet carrier or cage, leash, a favorite toy, trash bags, food and water bowls, kitty litter and a current photo of the pet. Plan now to keep your pet with you or board the pet in kennels or at the home of a friend or relative out of harm’s way. For information on planning for pets, call the Terrebonne Animal Shelter at 873-6709 or the Lafourche Shelter at 446-3532. 7. Protect your valuables Keeping copies of important documents is key. Scan documents into your

computer and keep digital copies on a USB drive or backed up on online services such as Dropbox or Google Drive. Do the same with your photos. Keep your Social Security cards, birth certificates, marriage and death records, driver’s license, cash, credit cards, bank account information, wills, insurance policies, deeds, mortgages, contracts, stocks, bonds, cameras, watches, jewelry, computer backups and photos and videos in waterproof containers or plastic bags.

If a storm doesn’t happen during the year, keep the savings going. That will leave you more prepared next season. Estimate what you need to secure your home and valuables plus the cost of five to seven days’ worth of food and supplies and travel expenses. Buy plywood, storm shutters, water, nonperishable food, generators and other supplies now so you won’t face long lines or empty store shelves later.

8. Save money

Now is the time to survey your yard for any rotting or precarious trees, branches or shrubs and remove them. Plan for how you will secure items in your yard, such as playhouses, so they don’t become projectiles. Using tape on windows is not recommended. Instead,

The costs of evacuating can pile up. Start saving now, even if it means setting aside a little at a time. Saving a dollar every day will give you $365 in one year, enough for gas and a few nights stay at a hotel.

9. Prepare your home

make hurricane shutters now so you don’t waste valuable time later. 10. Plan for family communication Make sure each member of your family is clear on what the emergency plan is, then share that plan with a family member or friend out of state. That person should become a point of contact for you and other family members to relay your locations as well as other information should you become separated. Also, prepare for phone lines to be down. Cellphone service can also be disrupted. If a family member plans to evacuate on a government bus, make sure he or she carries a cellphone and a battery powered charger. Make sure you and your loved ones have shared your cell numbers.

20  Thursday, May 28, 2020  THE COURIER | DAILY and COMET 18 | Saturday Sunday, June 1-2, 2019 18 | Saturday and Sunday, June 1-2, 2019


Forecast calls for El Forecast calls for El Niño

Forecasters predict a weak El Niño Forecasters predict a weak El Niño this season that along with cool Atlantic water is expected to h cool Atlantic water is expected to hinder storms’ development.

El Niño / La Niña weather patte El Niño / La Niña weather pattern comparison El Niño (Spanish for “the little boy”) • Trade winds weaken, warm waters move east • Pacific jet stream is pulled farther south than normal; picks up storms the jet stream would normally miss • Wet conditions in southern U.S., drier in Pacific Northwest and Ohio Valley; reduced hurricanes in Atlantic El Niño Pacific jet stream 3

Warmer Pacific Ocean


Pacific Ocean

Warm water


Southern jet stream


Cool water

A fallen tree bisects a trailer in Gray after Hurricane Gustav in early September 2008. [THE COURIER AND DAILY COMET/FILE] A fallen tree bisects a trailer in Gray after Hurricane Gustav in early September 2008. [THE COURIER AND DAILY COMET/FILE] Source: NOAA, AP

El Niño (Spanish for “the little boy”) La Niña (“the little girl”) • Trade winds weaken, warm 1. Strong Pacific trade winds waters move east blow warm surface water • Pacific jet stream is pulled westward farther south than normal; 2. Cold water rises to the picks up storms the jet stream surface would normally miss 3. Cooler air disrupts jet • Wet conditions in southern streams; northern jet stream U.S., drier in Pacific Northwest loops into Alaska, Canada and Ohio Valley; reduced • Occurs roughly half as often hurricanes in Atlantic as El Niño El Niño La Niña Pacific jet stream 3

Northern Warmer jet stream Pacific Ocean

La 1. bl w 2. su 3. st lo •O as



U.S. More hurricanes than usual in Southern Southeast and jet stream Pacific Caribbean Ocean

Caribbean 1 Warm Sea

water Source: NOAA, AP

Atlantic Ocean 2


Cool water


vocabul KnowKnow your your stormstorm vocabulary Tropical disturbance: An

area of thunderstorms in the tropics that maintains its identity for at least 24 hours. Tropical cyclone: a generic term used by meteorologists to describe any rotating, organized system of clouds and thunderstorms that originates over tropical or subtropical waters and has closed, lowlevel circulation. Tropical depression:

An organized system of clouds and thunderstorms with a defined circulation and

Tropical disturbance: An maximum sustained area of thunderstorms surface winds of 38 mph in the tropics that or less. maintains its identity Tropical storm: An for at least 24 hours. organized system of Tropical cyclone: a strong thunderstorms generic term used with a defined by meteorologists circulation and to describe any maximum sustained rotating, organized surface winds of 39-73 system of clouds and mph. thunderstorms that Tropical storm originates over tropical watch: Tropical or subtropical waters storm conditions and has closed, loware POSSIBLE in the level circulation. specified area of the Tropical depression: watch, usually within 36 An organized system hours. of clouds and Tropical storm thunderstorms with a warning: Tropical defined circulation and storm conditions are

maximum sustained EXPECTED in the surface winds of 38 mph specified area of the or less. warning, usually within Tropical storm: An 24 hours. organized system of Hurricane: An intense strong thunderstorms tropical system with a with a defined well-defined circulation circulation and and a maximum maximum sustained sustained winds of 74 surface winds of 39-73 mph or greater. mph. Hurricane season: June 1 Tropical storm through Nov. 30. watch: Tropical Hurricane watch: storm conditions Hurricane conditions are POSSIBLE in the are POSSIBLE in the specified area of the specified area of the watch, usually within 36 watch, usually within 36 hours. hours.

EXPECTED in the specified area of the specified area of the warning, usually within warning, usually within 24 hours. 24 hours. Invest: An ocean Hurricane: An intense weather system tropical system with a forecasters have well-defined circulation designated as important and a maximum to monitor. The sustained winds of 74 designation does not mph or greater. correspond to any Hurricane season: June 1 particular likelihood the through Nov. 30. system will develop or Hurricane watch: strengthen. Hurricane conditions Major hurricane: are POSSIBLE in the Forecasters sometimes specified area of the use this term to refer watch, usually within 36 to Category 3 or hours. hurricanes.

Hurricane conditions storm conditions are are EXPECTED in the

Hurricane conditions When a hurricane moves are EXPECTED in the within a few hundred

Tropical storm Hurricane warning: warning: Tropical

Hurricane warning: Small-craft advisory:

specified area of the miles of the coast, warning, usually within small-craft owners 24 hours. should not venture out Invest: An ocean into the open ocean. weather system Storm surge: Water level forecasters have rise caused by hurricane designated as important winds and low pressure. to monitor. The However, when surge designation does not levels are combined with correspond to any the already-present tide, particular likelihood the “storm surge” becomes system will develop or “storm tide.” If storm strengthen. surge hits a coastal area Major hurricane: during its high tide, it Forecasters sometimes can cause even more use this term to refer damage. to Category 3 or El Niño: A 12- to hurricanes. 18-month period Small-craft advisory: during which unusually When a hurricane moves warm sea surface within a few hundred temperatures occur

miles of the coast, in the eastern half of small-craft owners the equatorial Pacific. should not venture out Moderate or strong into the open ocean. El Nino events occur Storm surge: Water level irregularly, about once rise caused by hurricane every three to seven winds and low pressure. years on average. However, when surge La Niña: Unusually cold levels are combined with ocean temperatures in the already-present tide, the equatorial Pacific “storm surge” becomes that often occurs “storm tide.” If storm between El Nino events. surge hits a coastal area Because there’s only so during its high tide, it much energy available can cause even more in the tropics, La Nina damage. usually means more El Niño: A 12- to active hurricane season 18-month period in the Atlantic. during which unusually warm sea surface Source: National temperatures occur Hurricane Center

in th M E ir ev ye

o th th b B m in u ac in


THE COURIER | DAILY COMET  Thursday, May 28, 2020  21

Get your smartphone ready for an emergency By Melissa Erickson More Content Now

When disaster strikes, emergency kits and evacuation plans are essential, but people also need to be able to communicate. Your cellphone will be key to staying connected in an emergency, said Marcella Wilson, a professor of information systems and computer science at the University of Maryland. “When things happen people will go with what they know. They will reach for their phones. It’s important to be able to connect, to be able to check in and make sure everyone is OK,” Wilson said. The question is, will you be able to get service? “Call volume can be a tricky thing,” but communication networks are getting better at weathering major

storms, Wilson said. Get charged: Because high winds and other bad weather can knock out cellphone towers, be sure your phone is charged and protected from the elements. Buy an extra battery and keep that fully charged, too. Get a landline: Invest in an inexpensive (about $10) phone that jacks directly into the wall. Since they don’t need a base or a charger, the phone will still work if the electricity goes out, Wilson said. Text instead of calling: “Most people will think to make a call and try to talk to someone, but texting is better because it uses less bandwidth and is more likely to get through,” Wilson said. A call may fail and a text message may get stuck in a network jam, but a text will more likely eventually get through. Have an extra: In case

something happens to your phone, Consumer Reports recommends having a prepaid cellphone in addition to your personal mobile device. An emergency radio is also helpful to keep track of weather alerts. A portable battery charger or booster or a battery with a hand crank are also great backup power solutions. Turn to social media: Check in with friends and family through social media. “Let people know you’re OK by connecting on Facebook or Twitter. Use it to share your whereabouts, immediate needs or to look up where local shelters are. Create a family page (or Facebook group) just for this purpose,” Wilson said. Use Wi-Fi: If you’ve got Wi-Fi but not cellular service, you can use apps like Facebook Messenger, Google Duo, Viber and Fring

Hurricane: American Red Cross is an iPhone app that lets you monitor conditions in your area or throughout the storm track, prepare your family and home, find help and let others know you are safe. [RED CROSS]

to make phone calls, but you’ll need to set up some of these services beforehand. Skype is an inexpensive way to call. Apps for emergencies:

GroupMe is a free app that lets up to 25 people text, talk and share locations. The Silent Beacon is personal emergency alert system for both wearable

and wireless that connects to an app. The American Red Cross and the Federal Emergency Management Agency both have apps for iPhone and Android devices with real-time information and alerts before, during and after emergencies. Questions to ask carriers:

Ask your carrier if its website allows customers to view maps that show where signal strength is high or low, if it will bring in portable cellphone towers to areas where bad weather is predicted, and if it has an emergency plan online.

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22  Thursday, May 28, 2020  THE COURIER | DAILY COMET

Make a

family A disaster plan

By Melissa Erickson More Content Now


home fire, a hurricane or a cyberattack: Disaster can strike in many ways. Having a family plan can make the difference between surviving or not. “There’s a variety of reasons why having a family preparedness plan is a good idea,” said Daniel Barnett, associate professor in the Department of Environmental Health and Engineering in the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. Barnett’s top three reasons: 1. We’re seeing more frequent and severe weatherrelated emergencies. 2. Emerging infectious disease events such as new pandemics are brewing. 3. Psychosocially, the more secure you and your family are in the face of an everbroadening array of emerging threats, the better. Every 8 seconds “The Red Cross responds to an emergency every 8 seconds,” said Andrea Carlson, a spokesperson for the American Red Cross. “Home fires alone are so significant. It can change your life in a matter of minutes. Disasters happen so much more frequently than we realize.” Very simply put, every family should be “Red Cross Ready.

It’s a simple and easy way to be prepared. Get a kit. Make a plan. Be informed,” Carlson said. On your own Polls show that an extremely low level of households are prepared, Barnett said. “It’s a concern from a public safety standpoint,” he said. What many people do not realize is that in a disaster or emergency, you cannot assume governmental agencies will swoop in and assist people immediately, Barnett said: “You need to be prepared for a window of self-sustainability.” The current guideline is 72 hours, but that may be conservative, Barnett said. Get it together A disaster preparedness kit is basically everything — food, water, supplies — you need to survive for three days plus important documents (birth certificates, Social Security cards), medications and other personalized items, Carlson said. The guideline of 1 gallon of water per day per person “is admittedly a lot,” but it’s for drinking, cooking, first aid and hygiene, Barnett said. In addition to the main kit at home, keep a modified version of the kit at work and in the car, Barnett said. Visit Ready.gov or Redcross.org for a full list of supplies for a preparedness kit.

Keep connected Equally important is a family communication plan. Adults and kids need to talk about where they will meet if they have to get out of the house quickly. “Keep it simple and easy so kids can remember. Think about it like a school’s fire safety plan. Identify a place such as meeting at the mailbox,” Carlson said. Practice your plan periodically. Make a telephone tree or put together contact information, and remember that in a disaster it’s often easier to contact someone out of state than within the area, Barnett said. Since local lines are jammed and cellphone systems are often the first things to be overwhelmed, texting is better than calling, and landlines are more reliable, he said. Print out emergency contact cards (templates are at Redcross. org) and keep in backpacks and wallets. “No one remembers phone numbers,” Carlson said. In the know Know what the risks are where you live and work. Sign up for the free Red Cross Emergency App to receive emergency alerts and information about what to do in case of a disaster, as well as locations of shelters and alerts for locations where extended family members live.

THE COURIER | DAILY COMET  Thursday, May 28, 2020  23

24  Thursday, May 28, 2020  THE COURIER | DAILY COMET

What to do in a


More Content Now


power outage is more than just an inconvenience; it can be dangerous. “Most power outages are weatherrelated, and if you live in an area where there are overhead power lines, rather than underground power cables, you are vulnerable to more frequent and potentially extended periods of time without power,” said Scott Humphrey, second vice president of risk control at insurance firm Travelers. Downed trees or limbs can knock out a power line. “Take steps to care for the trees in your yard by trimming them regularly,” Humphrey said. Store flashlights, a battery-powered radio and extra batteries where they can be easily found, said Julie Smith, spokeswoman for State Farm. “Flashlights and batteries are preferable to candles, as candles used in unfamiliar settings can be dangerous fire hazards,” she said. Humphrey suggests also having the following on hand: • Chargers for all electronics and charged portable power banks. • A battery-powered or windup clock and radio. • One gallon of water, per person, per day. • Non-perishable and canned foods, along with a non-electric can opener. • A first aid kit and at least a three- to seven-day supply of any daily medication for family members and pets. • Sanitation and personal hygiene items, including bug spray, suntan lotion and/or hand and foot warmers depending on your location and climate. • Copies of personal documents, including a home inventory list, insurance policies and other important legal and financial documents. • Food and water for pets. • Extra clothing and blankets. • Baby supplies like diapers, wipes, formula, food and bottles. • Emergency cash and checks. • Wood, for those with a wood stove or fireplace, and extra gas

for portable generators. Protect appliances

“There is the risk of a power surge when electricity is restored that can potentially cause damage to electronics like computers and servers,” Humphrey said. “Unplugging major electronics, like your TV and computer, can help, but one of the best ways to protect your sensitive electronics is to use surge protectors.” Stay safe “Be aware of downed power lines, which can be live and present a danger when power is turned back on. Stay clear of any downed lines and notify your electric company of them as soon as possible,” Humphrey said. “Make sure the battery in your smoke detector is fresh,” Smith said. “Test the smoke detector on a monthly basis to make sure it’s working.” Check on neighbors, especially if elderly or in ill health, but make sure it is safe to get to their location. “If not, and you are worried about a neighbor, the best course may be to notify the local authorities so they can check on the welfare of the individuals,” Smith said. Tune in “Listen to the radio or monitor social media for updates. Most municipalities will communicate via press conferences and announcements, as well as social media. They may even have an app for local updates,” Smith said. Wait it out “A power outage can be a waiting game as electric companies work to get you back to normal as soon as possible, so make sure you have the supplies you and your family need to see you through before and during the outage,” Humphrey said. “Contact your utility company, and if possible, stay connected to them online.”


By Melissa Erickson

THE COURIER | DAILY COMET  Thursday, May 28, 2020  25

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26  May 2020  June THE 1-2, COURIER 26 |Thursday, Saturday and28, Sunday, 2019 | DAILY COMET


Storm surges’ power

A strong hurricane typically causes a flood of sea water as it hits land, a dangerous event called a storm surge.

How a storm surge forms 1. Low air pressure around eye e lifts a dome of water as much as 15 feet high and 50 miles long 2. Dome of water washes ashore where Dome of 3 hurricane’s sea water 2 eye makes Rotation landfall Storm’s ’ Storm’s 3. Worst is movement Eye on right side of storm, m, where es rotation makes winds strongest 1

Driven by wind, waves can rise 10 feet above surge

Storm surge Normal sea level Millie Crochet, 37, gets help from her fiance, Willie Coleman, 37, as they evacuate their flooded Senator Circle apartment in Houma on Sept. 13, 2008. Hurricane Ike had swamped hundreds of homes in Terrebonne Parish. The couple, who left the day before, came back to check on their home. Ashland resident Khiry Howard (far left), 13, leans over to help. [THE

Sources: U.S. National Hurricane Center; Florida Division of Emergency Management



How to cope with flooding The Louisiana Office of Emergency Preparedness offers these tips to keep you safe before, during and after the flood. BEFORE THE FLOOD

• Keep a battery-powered radio tuned to a local station, and follow emergency instructions. • If the waters start to rise inside your house before you have evacuated, retreat to the second floor, the attic and, if necessary, the roof. Take dry clothing, a flashlight and a portable radio with you. Then, wait for help. Don’t try to swim to safety; wait for rescuers to come to you. • Turn off all utilities at

the main power switch and close the main gas valve if evacuation appears necessary. • Move valuables, such as papers, furs, jewelry, and clothing, to upper floors or higher elevations. • Fill bathtubs, sinks and plastic soda bottles with clean water. Sanitize the sinks and tubs first by using bleach. Rinse, then fill with clean water. • Bring outdoor possessions, such as lawn furniture, grills and trash cans, inside or tie them down securely.

and go another way. More people drown in their cars than anywhere else. • Do not walk through flooded areas. As little as 6 inches of moving water can knock you off your feet. • Stay away from downed power lines and electrical wires. Electrocution is another major source of deaths in floods. Electric current passes easily through water. • Look out for animals and insects, especially snakes and ants. AFTER THE FLOOD


• Do not drive through a flooded area. If you come upon a flooded road, turn around

• If your home, apartment or business has suffered damage, call the insurance company or agent who handles your flood

insurance policy right away to file a claim. • Before entering a building, check for structural damage. Don’t go in if there is any chance of the building collapsing. • Upon entering, do not use matches, cigarette lighters or any other open flames, since gas may be trapped inside. Instead, use a flashlight to light your way. • Keep power off until an electrician has inspected your system for safety. • Floodwaters pick up sewage and chemicals from roads, farms and job sites. If your home has been flooded, protect your family’s health by cleaning up your house right

away. Throw out foods and medicines that may have come into contact with floodwaters. • Until local authorities proclaim your water supply safe, boil water for drinking and food preparation for five minutes before using. • Be careful walking around. After a flood, steps and floors are often slippery with mud and covered with debris, including nails and broken glass. • Take steps to reduce your risk of future floods. Make sure to follow local building codes and ordinances when rebuilding, and use floodresistant materials and techniques to protect yourself and your property from future flood damage.

THE COURIER | DAILY COMET  Thursday, May 28, 2020  27 Saturday and Sunday, June 1-2, 2019 | 27


Flooding damage Home flood damage

Respiratory health risks Shelters


Ruined carpets

Structural rot

Warping sheaths

Exposure to communal settings can raise risk of: • Pneumonia • Flu

Home • Exposure to sewage

Nail popping

Floor buckling

and chemicals in water and mold can cause: • Allergies • Asthma • Bacterial/viral infections

Infrastructure damage Mental health



Scour — Water erodes base of structure, causing instability

Erosion — Water rushes over roadway, eating away at soil at pavement’s edge

Potholes Seepage — Water seeps through crack, saturating soil and creating pockets that collapse

Local population and economy Where will they go?

Closed businesses

Home construction

Symtoms include: • Sleep problems • Depression • Anxiety • Fear • Appetite problems • Extreme avoidance of

event reminders • Mood changes —

crying easily, sadness, irritability, anger


28 |Thursday, Saturday and28, Sunday, 2019 | DAILY COMET 28  May 2020  June THE 1-2, COURIER


Storms pose multiple dangers All tropical storms and hurricanes pose a variety of hazards; knowing them can help you avoid or minimize damage. Storm surge and large waves produced by hurricanes pose the greatest threat to life and property along the coast. Storm surge is an abnormal rise of water generated by a storm's winds. Storm surge can reach heights well over 20 feet and can span hundreds of miles of coastline. Storm tide is the water level rise during a storm due to the combination of storm surge and the astronomical tide. The destructive power of storm surge and large battering waves can result in loss of life, buildings destroyed, beach and wetlands erosion and road and bridge damage along the coast. Storm surge can travel several miles inland. In local estuaries and bayous, saltwater intrusion endangers public health and the environment.


Tropical storms often produce widespread rain in excess of 6 inches, which may result in deadly and destructive floods. Flooding is the major threat from tropical cyclones for people living inland. Flash flooding, defined as a rapid rise in water levels, can occur quickly due to intense rainfall. Longer term flooding on rivers and streams can persist for several

An aerial photo taken Oct. 11 shows homes washed were away by Hurricane Michael in Mexico Beach, Fla. Michael made landfall near the community the day before as a Category 4 hurricane with 155 mph winds and a storm surge of 9 feet. [AP PHOTO/CHRIS O’MEARA]

days after the storm. When approaching water on a roadway, always remember, “turn around; don't drown.” Rainfall amounts are not directly related to the strength but rather to the speed and size of a storm, as well as the area’s geography. Slower-moving and larger storms produce more rain. HIGH WINDS

Tropical-stormforce winds are strong enough to be dangerous. That’s one reason local emergency managers plan on having

evacuations complete and their personnel sheltered before the onset of tropical storm-force winds, not hurricane-force winds. Hurricane-force winds, 74 mph or more, can destroy buildings and mobile homes. Debris, such as signs, roofing material, siding and small items left outside become flying missiles. Winds can stay above hurricane strength well inland. In 2004, Hurricane Charley made landfall at Punta Gorda, on the southwest Florida coast, and produced

major damage well inland across central Florida with gusts of more than 100 mph. RIP CURRENTS

The strong winds of a tropical cyclone can cause dangerous waves that pose a significant hazard to mariners and coastal residents and visitors. When the waves break along the coast, they can produce deadly rip currents — even at large distances from the storm. Rip currents are channeled currents of water flowing away from shore, usually extending

past the line of breaking waves, that can pull even the strongest swimmers away from shore. In 2008, despite the fact that Hurricane Bertha was more than a 1,000 miles offshore, the storm resulted in rip currents that killed three people along the New Jersey coast and required 1,500 lifeguard rescues in Ocean City, Md., over a one-week period. In 2009, all six deaths in the U.S. directly attributable to tropical cyclones occurred as the result of drowning from large waves or strong rip currents.


Hurricanes and tropical storms can also produce tornadoes. These tornadoes most often occur in thunderstorms embedded in rain bands well away from the center of the hurricane; however, they can also occur near the eyewall. Usually, tornadoes produced by tropical cyclones are relatively weak and short-lived, but they still pose a significant threat. Source: National Hurricane Center


Saturday and Sunday, June 1-2, 2019 | 29 THE COURIER | DAILY COMET  Thursday, May 28, 2020  29

Strengthening your house Securing key components of the structure can reduce your house's vulnerability to hurricanes. A good time to retrofit your house is when you are making other improvements. While you can make some of them yourself, other projects may require a building contractor or someone with an engineering background.

Hurricane straps Hurricane straps are designed to hold the roof to the wall. Made from galvanized steel, each strap is wrapped around a truss and nailed in place. Wind pressure

Hurricane straps used with a concrete block house Installing straps requires removing sheathing around the perimeter of the roof to reveal the top of the wall, or you may also remove the soffit to gain access. Truss

Hurricane winds can cause uplift forces that can take the roof off your house, especially if wind gets inside. Wind pressure

The roof Buildings with gabled roofs need to be braced against the force of the wind generated by a hurricane. A gabled roof should be braced using 2x4s in an "X" pattern from the top center of the gable to the bottom center brace of the fourth truss, and from the bottom center of the gable to the top center brace of the fourth truss.

2 x 4 braces

Attic floor


Hurricane straps used with a wood-frame house The hurricane strap is wrapped around the truss and nailed to the wall stud.


Block wall

Concrete-block house Truss bracing consists of 2x4s that run the length of the roof. These braces should be installed 18 inches from the ridge, in the center span, and at the base, with 8 to 10 feet between the braces.


2x4 horizontal braces

Attic floor


Wood-frame house Wall studs

Wall to foundation Exterior walls should be anchored to the foundation. Metal clips are available at building suppy stores. Drill holes through the existing sill plate into the concrete foundation to install anchor bolts.

Sources: Institute for Business and Home Safety, FEMA



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30  Thursday, May 28, 2020  THE COURIER | DAILY COMET

By Melissa Erickson More Content Now


xperts agree that “no pet left behind” is the best policy, so making pets a part of your emergency preparation is crucial. “The first step to preparing your pet for a disaster is to make sure that he or she is wearing a securely fastened collar with up-todate identification including your cell phone number in case you become separated,” said Dr. Kurt Venator, chief veterinary officer at Purina. Confirm that your pet’s microchip information is up-to-date with current address and cell number, particularly for indoor cats, who may be less likely to wear a collar regularly, Venator said. “Cat owners should have easy access to their pet carrier to avoid hunting for it in an emergency,” he said. Make a kit

Gradually acclimate them to their crates, Perciful said. First, place their food inside an open crate, and eventually have them eat their meals in the crate with the door shut. Try carrying your pets around the house in the crate or taking a short drive. Help your pets develop a positive association with the crate by providing treats and playtime at the conclusion of crate time. Get backup “It’s a good idea to have a backup caretaker for your pets such as your professional pet sitter or a neighbor who could care for your pets if disaster strikes when you are away from home or if unforeseen circumstances prevent you from returning home to rescue your pets,” said Beth Stultz-Hairston, president of Pet Sitters International. “This person should be aware of your disaster plan and know where to access your disaster supplies kit.” Put this plan in writing in case the caretaker needs to show proof of permission to access your home in your absence. “Be sure your emergency backup caretaker also knows of each pet’s favorite hiding spot,” she said.

Plan for your


“Prepare an emergency kit for each animal. It should include a one week supply of food and water, medications, photos of you with your pets, proof of vaccinations, collar, leash/harness, crate or carrier, identification tags, food and water bowls, blanket, toys and cleaning supplies such as paper towels, plastic bags or cat litter and litter tray,” sid Nicole Forsyth, president and CEO of RedRover, a national animal welfare nonprofit that brings animals out of crisis to care. “Assemble the kit in easy-to-carry, waterproof containers,” said Michael San Filippo, spokesman for the American Veterinary Medical Association. Store in an easily accessible location away from areas with temperature extremes. “Replace the food, water and medications as often as needed to maintain quality and freshness and in accordance with expiration dates. If medications are stored elsewhere due to temperature requirements such as refrigeration, indicate the name of the medication and its location,” he said. Prepare pet for travel “Preparing your pet for traveling in the event you need to evacuate during an emergency can be a life-saving first step,” said Tim Perciful, ASPCA disaster response manager. “Because disaster situations are stressful, animals may become skittish, which increases the likelihood they will escape and get lost. To prepare your pet for a potential evacuation, get them comfortable with a travel carrier in advance.”

Bring pets in

“Outdoor pets should be sheltered indoors during storms and disasters for their physical and emotional safety,” Venator said. “During storms, especially tornados or hurricanes, high winds and flying debris could displace or injure a pet. Loud noises and unpredictable sounds can also cause anxiety and fear, which can be difficult for pets to overcome. Chances are, if you don’t want to be outside in the elements of a disaster, your pet doesn’t either.” Alert authorities Use a window decal to let people know that pets are inside your home. “Make sure the decal is visible to rescue workers. We recommend placing it on or near your front door and that it includes the types and number of pets in your home as well as the name and number of your veterinarian. If you must evacuate with your pets, and if time allows, write ‘EVACUATED’ across the stickers,” Perciful said. To order a free ASPCA sticker, visit secure.aspca.org/take-action/order-your-pet-safety-pack.

THE COURIER | DAILY COMET  Thursday, May 28, 2020  31

How to talk to kids about disasters FREEPIK.COM

By Melissa Erickson More Content Now


atching the news, listening to the radio or following current events on social media, it’s easy for a young child to overhear or see traumatic events, whether it’s a winter blizzard happening nearby or a tropical storm halfway around the world. What’s the best way to talk to kids about emergencies and disasters? Conversations depend on the family and age of the child, but parents need to give kids honest and accurate information, said Dr. David Fassler, clinical professor in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Vermont, and the director of advocacy and public policy at the Vermont Center for Children, Youth and Families. “Children tend to personalize situations. For example, they may worry about their own safety and the safety of immediate family members. They may also worry about friends or relatives who travel or live far away,” Fassler said. Hiding awful events is not protecting children. “Children often see images of such tragedies on the news or through social media. They may also be discussed at school,” Fassler said. It’s better to speak about what’s happening because “children intuitively know when their parents are nervous or anxious,” said Emmanuel Maidenberg, associate clinical professor of psychiatry and biobehavioral sciences at University of California, Los Angeles. Being honest is crucial, because kids are smarter than parents think and will know if they’re making things up. “It may affect their ability to trust you or your reassurances in the future,” he said. Wait for the right time Create a supportive environment where kids feel open to asking questions, but don’t force them to talk about the subject if they are not ready, Fassler said. “Start by asking children what they’ve heard or already know. Tell them that you’ll answer any questions they have and if you

don’t know the answers, you’ll figure out how to find the information together,” he said. In their own way Responses will vary from child to child. “Some kids are very interested in all the details. They may worry about the people and animals directly affected. Other kids are fine with a brief conversation before they head back to play, but they may also come back at a later time with thoughts, questions or concerns,” Fassler said. Validate their feelings “Kids are as capable of feeling anxiety and discomfort as adults. Validate what they’re feeling,” Maidenberg said. It can be confusing for children if parents tell them not to worry or that everything will be OK. Keep it simple “Use words and concepts children can understand. Gear your explanations to the child’s age, language and developmental level,” Fassler said. Avoid overloading kids with information. Try and normalize the situation, Maidenberg said. Tell children that disasters are something that happens. We don’t know when they will happen, but we can prepare for them, he said. Turn disaster prep into a kind of game and get the whole family involved. “Play out what will happen: ‘I will take this bag and you take that bag. Next we’ll get into the car,’” Maidenberg said. With older kids you can get into specifics. For example, families in California should talk about earthquakes, and families who live on the Atlantic Coast should discuss hurricanes. Take extra care “Children who have experienced trauma or losses in the past are particularly vulnerable to more prolonged or intense reactions to news or images of natural disasters. These children may need extra support and attention,” Fassler said.

32  Thursday, May 28, 2020  THE COURIER | DAILY COMET

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Hurricane 2020: Your guide to weathering the storm in Terrebonne and Lafourche  

Hurricane 2020: Your guide to weathering the storm in Terrebonne and Lafourche