Hurricane 2021: Your guide to weathering the storm in Terrebonne and Lafourche parishes

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ONLINE and The 2021 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. ©2021 GANNETT

What’s inside

Forecasters say the six-month hurricane season that starts June 1 will be another busy one. GETTY IMAGES

Here are the odds a storm will hit us ............................. 4

Familiar concerns accompany a new hurricane season

How to prepare your house .............................................. 5 If officials order you to evacuate, do it ......................... 6 10 things you absolutely, positively need to know .... 8 Storms pose multiple dangers ...................................... 10 Why you need flood insurance, where to get it ........ 11 How to cope with flooding .............................................. 12 Where to find sandbags in Terrebonne and Lafourche .................................................................................. 13 What you need to know if you live in Terrebonne ... 14 Here is the plan if a storm threatens Lafourche ....... 15 How to store plenty of water ......................................... 16 How to assemble a grab-and-go box .......................... 18 Prep your cellphone so you’re ready for anything .. 20 How to make a family disaster plan .............................. 21 How to safeguard your boat .......................................... 22 Know your storm vocabulary ......................................... 23 What to do in a power outage ....................................... 24 This year’s storm names include some changes ...... 25 Know these essential first-aid basics .......................... 26 Find out if you’re really ready for a storm .................. 27 Plan for your pet ................................................................ 28 Tips for strengthening your house ............................. 29

If forecasters are correct, this hurricane season will bear some similarities to the last. Forecasters say the six­month hurricane season that starts June 1 will be another busy one based on historical data and summer weather patterns. Colorado State Uni­ versity researcher Phil Klotzbach predicts 17 named tropical storms will form, eight of which will become hurricanes. Last year was busy as well, with seven hurricanes af­ fecting Louisiana, including Zeta, a Category 3 storm that made landfall Oct. 28 in Cocodrie. Also like last year, the ongoing coronavirus pandemic will require everyone to adjust evacuations, shelters and other hurricane preparation, response and recovery ef­ forts to prevent the spread of the highly contagious and deadly virus. Local and state offi cials advise anyone who hasn’t done so already to get a COVID­19 vaccine now. And, as always, offi cials suggest 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. Stock up on basic food, water and supplies. Residents also will need to follow news media and

connect with parish emergency offi ces on social media like Facebook and Twitter so they are aware of any new instructions that will be given as a storm approaches. If an evacuation is ordered, leave without delay. There are still a lot of unknowns this season. A lot de­ pends, offi cials say, on how the state progresses with its continuing eff orts to get people vaccinated against CO­ VID. Most of last year’s state restrictions on business op­ erations and social gatherings have been loosened or lift­ ed. But it’s reasonable to expect that storm shelters, if opened locally or statewide, will require masks and so­ cial distancing. Whether hotels are up and running at full capacity will play a role in how far some may have to trav­ el to fi nd a place to stay and how long it will take to get there. 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


Here are the odds a hurricane will hit us this storm season Keith Magill Houma Courier-Thibodaux Daily Comet USA TODAY NETWORK

Forecasters predict an above­average number of storms this hurricane season for the Gulf of Mexico and Atlantic. Colorado State University’s Tropical Meteorology Project predicts 17 named storms for the six­month season that starts June 1. Of those, eight will be hurri­ canes, including four that will reach Cat­ egory 3 strength or higher. The forecast is almost the same as last year, one of the busiest on record in which seven named storms aff ected Louisiana. The research team, led by Philip J. Klotzbach, Michael M. Bell and Jhor­ danne Jones, says there’s a 44% chance a major hurricane, Category 3 or strong­ er, will hit somewhere along the Gulf Coast from the Florida Panhandle to Brownsville, Texas. The average odds over the past century are 30%. The forecast, released in early April, is similar to one issued by the commercial weather agency Accuweather. It predicts 16­20 named storms, including seven to 10 hurricanes, three to fi ve of them major. A key to this year’s above­average predictions, Colorado State researchers say, is the likely absence of El Niño. The weather pattern, based in the Pacifi c Ocean, sends strong trade winds across the Gulf of Mexico and Atlantic that tend to disrupt and weaken hurricanes. In ad­ dition, the winds’ absence is expected to help keep waters in the Gulf and Atlantic warmer and more conducive to hurri­ canes during the season’s mid­summer peak. A typical year, based on records from 1981 to 2010, brings 12 tropical storms. Of those, six are hurricanes and three are Category 3 or greater, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Ad­ ministration. About two hurricanes hit the U.S. during a typical season. NOAA updated those averages this year, something it does routinely once every decade. The agency is now basing the norms on a new 30­year timeframe from 1991 to 2020. Over that period, the

yearly average increased to 14 named storms and seven hurricanes. The aver­ age for major hurricanes remains un­ changed at three. “These updated averages better re­ fl ect our collective experience of the past 10 years, which included some very ac­ tive hurricane seasons,” Matt Rosen­ crans, seasonal hurricane forecaster at NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center, said in a news release last month, when the fi gures were updated. “NOAA scientists have evaluated the impacts of climate change on tropical cyclones and deter­ mined that it can infl uence storm inten­ sity.” But he said further study is needed to better understand climate change’s im­ pact on the number of storms that form in a given year. Collaborative research by the Colora­ do State team and the GeoGraphics Lab­ oratory at Bridgewater State University in Massachusetts uses records dating back to the late 1800s to determine the odds a hurricane will hit a given state, parish or county. Based on that data, here are the odds Louisiana, Terrebonne or Lafourche will get hit on any given year: Louisiana: The state a 30% chance of being hit by a one or more hurricanes and a 10% chance of being struck by a Cate­ gory 3 or or higher. Terrebonne: There’s a 5.6% chance one or more hurricanes will make land­ fall in the parish, 2.6% for a major one. Lafourche: The parish has a 2% chance of a hurricane landfall, .9% for a major one. The team had not issued specifi c odds for this season by mid­May, but the per­ centages have been consistently higher in years like this one, when forecasters are projecting more storms than normal. Experts acknowledge that forecasting the number, severity or location of hurri­ canes before a season begins is an inex­ act science. Most use historical data and seasonal weather conditions to make an educated guess. “It takes only one storm near you to make this an active season,” Bell said.

A satellite image shows Zeta as it makes landfall around 4 p.m. Oct. 28 in Cocodrie. NATIONAL OCEANIC AND ATMOSPHERIC ADMINISTRATION


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.



If officials order you to evacuate, just do it By Keith Magill Executive Editor


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Lake Pontchartrain





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

Hurricane evacuation routes


















Morgan City




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 above bottom of door Water level below 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.


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10 WAYS TO PREPARE How to protect your family, pets and property A resident walks through a flooded fi eld in Montegut July 13, 2019 after Hurricane Barry’s storm surge overtopped a levee that had been undergoing upgrades in the 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. area. THE COURIER AND DAILY COMET/FILE [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, 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.


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, 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 Montegut in July asin Hurricane Barry made landfall. Terrebonne Parish officials respond to water overtopping theinlevee in Montegut July 2019 as Hurricane Barry made landfall. [THE COURIER AND [THE AND DAILY DAILY COMET/FILE] 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.


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. HEAVY RAIN AND FLOODING

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.

past the line of breaking waves, that can pull even the strongest swimmers away from shore. In 2008, despite the RIP CURRENTS fact that Hurricane The strong winds of Bertha was more than a tropical cyclone can a 1,000 miles offshore, cause dangerous waves the storm resulted in rip that pose a significant currents that killed three hazard to mariners and people along the New coastal residents and Jersey coast and required visitors. 1,500 lifeguard rescues When the waves break in Ocean City, Md., over along the coast, they a one-week period. can produce deadly rip In 2009, all six deaths currents — even at large in the U.S. directly distances from the storm. attributable to tropical Rip currents are cyclones occurred as the channeled currents of result of drowning from water flowing away from large waves or strong rip shore, usually extending 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


Why fl ood insurance is a necessity Keith Magill Houma Courier-Thibodaux Daily Comet USA TODAY NETWORK

Bert Riggs Jr. 18, carries fi shing nets from his home on La. 56, north of Chauvin, on Sept. 24, 2005 after Hurricane Rita flooded the community. THE COURIER AND DAILY COMET/FILE

Most residents should buy fl ood in­ surance because it protects their largest investment, their home and its con­ tents, which could otherwise be lost to a hurricane’s fl ooding and strong winds, offi cials say. Four of every fi ve homes in Terre­ bonne and Lafourche parishes are at risk of being damaged by hurricane storm surges, according to reports from the global property research company CoreLogic. A total of 71,673 local homes are at risk of fl ooding from hurricane storm surges. Combined, the homes would cost an estimated $14.5 billion to rebuild. Local homes at risk are also more than double the number covered by fl ood insurance. Recent FEMA statistics show the National Flood Insurance Pro­ gram covered nearly 27,000 local homes with a combined value of roughly $7 bil­ lion.

Based on the data, if a major storm surge hits, tens of thousands of resi­ dents without fl ood insurance could face having to come up with money to rebuild homes that CoreLogic’s report indicate are at high risk. The National Flood Insurance Pro­ gram is the only place you can get fl ood insurance, and it takes eff ect 30 days af­ ter you buy a policy. Flood insurance prices can vary de­ pending on your risk. In Louisiana, the average policy costs $726 a year, ac­ cording to an analysis released April 27 by ValuePenguin, an insurance research company. The average policy cost $583 a year in Houma and $619 in unincorpo­ rated Lafourche Parish. Meanwhile, 2019 census data show the median home’s value was about $160,000 in both parishes. But changes as early as this year could make it more expensive. The Federal Emergency Manage­ ment Agency, which administers the fl ood insurance program, plans to enact something called Risk Rating 2.0 for


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new policies Oct. 1 and for renewals starting in April 2022. The plan aims to bring insurance costs more in line with the actual risk of fl ooding and help re­ duce the program’s debt, which hovers at just over $20 billion. FEMA planned to enact the new rat­ ing system in 2019 but delayed under pressure from members of Congress from Louisiana and elsewhere who were concerned it would push costs to unaff ordable levels for many homeown­ ers. For years, critics have pushed to end taxpayer subsidies they say keep poli­ cies’ costs artifi cially low and encourage people to build and live in harm’s way. But local offi cials and others counter that would make insurance unaff ord­ able for almost everyone in places like coastal Louisiana, wrecking lives and decimating economies. To buy fl ood insurance, visit or call your homeowners’ insurance agent. You can learn more at the program’s’ web­ site, fl, which includes a calculator to estimate your cost.

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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 ater 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 Storm’s 3. Worst is movement Eye on right side of storm, m, where rotation makes es 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.


Where to find sandbags and how to use them Using sandbags is one of the most inexpensive and effective ways to prepare against flooding. Terrebonne and Lafourche parish governments make sandbags available to residents before storms hit. You may have to fill your own sandbags; bring a shovel. Below are the locations that usually offer sandbags. Additional temporary locations may be added as needed. Not all locations will have sandbags for every storm, so check with The Courier and Daily Comet if a storm approaches for up-to-date information. TERREBONNE • Bobtown Fire Station, 4717 Grand Caillou Road. • Mechanicville Gym, 2814 Senator St., Houma. • Houma-Terrebonne Civic Center, 346 Civic Center Blvd., Houma. • Upper Dularge Fire Station, 1767 Bayou Dularge Road. • Bayou Black Fire Station, 2820 Savanne Road. • Houma Airbase Adult Softball Complex, 9544 East Main St. • Pointe-aux-Chenes Knights of Columbus Hall, 1558 La. 655. • St. Ann Catholic Church, 4355 La. 24, Bourg. • Ward 7 Citizens’ Club, 5006 La. 56, Chauvin. • Cannata’s supermarket, 6307 W. Park Ave., Houma. • Devon Keller Memorial Center, 5575 Bayou Black Road, Gibson.

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

Residential • Commercial • 24/7 Emergency Service

• Gibson East Fire Station, 5218 N. Bayou Black Road. • West Terrebonne Fire Station, 110 Merry Moss St., Gibson. • Montegut Fire Station, 1105 La. 55, Montegut. • Village East Fire Station, 100 Development St., Houma. • Donner Community Center, 361 Azalea Drive, Donner. • Public Works North Campus, 206 Government St., Gray. LAFOURCHE • Thibodaux Field Office, 2565 Veterans Blvd. • Choctaw Field Office, 122 Choctaw Barn Road. • Raceland Field Office, 129 Texas St. • Lockport Field Office, 6236 La. 308. • Bayou Blue Field Office, 104 Myrtle Place. • Galliano-Cut Off Field Office, 128 W. 97th St. HOW TO FILL A SANDBAG The Terrebonne Read-

iness and Assistance Coalition, a nonprofit comprised of groups in Terrebonne and Lafourche, suggests: • It’s a two-person job, one to hold the bag open and one to fill. • Sand is abrasive; wear gloves. • It isn’t necessary to tie the end of the bag. • Remove any debris from the area there the bags are to be placed. • Lift the sandbags from their neck, place the half-filled bags length-ways across the doorway and parallel to the direction of the water flow. Tuck the open end under the filled half of the bag and position it pointing into the water flow. Ensure it is bedded in against the door frame. • Place bags in layers. Like a brick wall, make sure in the next layer, each bag overlaps the one below by half. • Stamp bags firmly into place to eliminate gaps and create a tight seal.



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If you live in Terrebonne, here is what to do High School at 1 Reservation Court in Gray. Residents who need transporta­ tion can either drive there or be picked up by buses throughout the parish’s ma­ jor streets. Once there, residents and their pets will be entered into the par­ ish’s evacuation registration system and bused to a Monroe shelter. No prior signup is required. If you need assistance getting to the pickup point, offi cials ask that you reg­ ister in advance with the Terrebonne Council on Aging at 868­8411. 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 identifi cation for their animals and take clear photos of their pets. Pet owners should also have an emergency kit containing food, water, medications, important documents and toys.

Dan Copp Houma Courier-Thibodaux Daily Comet USA TODAY NETWORK

Last year’s Atlantic hurricane season was one for the record books. Not only did the Houma­Thibodaux area feel the eff ects of seven named storms, though all spared the area wide­ spread or catastrophic damage, the CO­ VID­19 outbreak also brought new chal­ lenges into the fold. Forecasters have predicted another active storm season this year, and the pandemic drags on. Terrebonne Emergency Prepared­ ness Director Earl Eues said the best de­ fense against both threats is to expect the unexpected. “We’re going to provide shelter as we always do during storms,” he said. “With the COVID situation we will make sure people are socially distancing and we will have masks available just to be cau­ tious so we don’t have any issues in the shelters.” Eues also encouraged residents to roll up their sleeves and get the corona­ virus vaccine if they haven’t already. “My recommendation is if you think you’re going to need to use public shelter you should probably look to get a vac­ cine,” he said. Like previous storm seasons, Eues encourages residents to visit the Terre­ bonne Offi ce of Emergency Prepared­ ness’ 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, offi cials will provide timely updates and break­ ing information. Terrebonne Parish will also issue se­ vere weather alerts to mobile devices. To register, visit­ nealert. Residents can create free online profi les so fi rst responders can help them during an emergency. Visit Name, phone number and email address are required to create a profi le, but users can enter other information such as age, fl oor plans and the names of family mem­ bers. When dialing 911, information from the profi le appears on the call­taker’s screen.

About evacuations A joint command team comprised of

Returning home

Randall Bordelon, right, looks around the kitchen in his fi shing camp near Chauvin on Oct. 29, 2020, less than 24 hours after Hurricane Zeta destroyed the roof. The strong Category 2 hurricane made landfall the night before in Cocodrie. CHRIS GRANGER/AP

Eues, the parish president, sheriff and School Board offi cials monitors storms as they enter the Gulf of Mexico. The team decides on closures and evacua­ tions and works with emergency offi ­ cials to prepare for potential problems. Residents are urged to create a per­ sonal evacuation plan and remember traffi c across the state will change due to large­scale evacuations, Eues said. Families should come up with an evacu­ ation route ahead of time and a place where they can meet if they become

separated. For storms weaker than a Category 2 hurricane, offi cials will open a shelter somewhere in the parish. Those possible shelters include Gibson and Schriever recreation centers, Schriever Elementary, Dumas Auditori­ um and Evergreen Junior High.

Business owners who want to return to Terrebonne to assess damage and make repairs must obtain an early re­ entry permit from the Offi ce of Emer­ gency Preparedness. To register, visit and select “Terre­ bonne.” For information, call 873­6357. A ma­ jor storm that causes a lot of damage, in­ cluding downed power lines and scat­ tered debris, could prevent residents from returning for several days or even weeks. Residents without early entry passes are usually not allowed to return until evacuation orders are lifted by the parish president. Though the coronavi­ rus outbreak complicates hurricane season, Eues encouraged residents to evacuate when the need arises. Eues said now is the time to prepare, not in the middle of hurricane season. “I would remind residents to look over their evacuation plans and emer­ gency kits to make sure there are enough supplies,” he said. “Make sure you have enough water. We may have an active hurricane season, but it only takes one storm to aff ect our area in or­ der for it to be a bad season.”

Stronger storms If Terrebonne is threatened by a Cat­ egory 3 or higher, a parishwide pickup point will be organized at H.L. Bourgeois

­ Staff writer Dan Copp can be reached at 448­7639 or at Follow him on Twitter @DanVCopp.

What you need to know if you live in Lafourche Kezia Setyawan Houma Courier-Thibodaux Daily Comet USA TODAY NETWORK

Lafourche Parish’s hurricane plans, just as last year, will take into account the ongoing coronavirus pandemic when it comes to any evacuations or storm shelters. “We will still have masks available for those who want it because we don’t know who has or hasn’t been vaccinat­ ed,” said parish Emergency Prepared­ ness Director Chris Boudreaux. State and local offi cials encourage residents to get vaccinated against CO­ VID­19 if you haven’t already. That will minimize the risk to you and others if you end up evacuating to a storm shel­ ter, hotel or the home of family or friends. Agencies tasked with providing pub­ lic information during storms include the Lafourche Emergency Preparedness Offi ce, Sheriff ’s Offi ce, Thibodaux and Lockport police departments, Greater Lafourche Port Commission, Harbor Po­ lice, ambulance services, local hospitals and area fi re departments. Residents can download the Alert FM app on their smartphones for weather alerts and other emergency notifi ca­ tions. The Lafourche Sheriff ’s Offi ce of­ fers a free mobile app that can be down­ loaded from the Apple or Google app stores. By default, all residential landline phones are already included in the par­ ish’s emergency alert system and will receive an automated call if a storm evacuation is ordered. If you want to re­ ceive a call or text on your cellphone, register at Parish government’s social media pages, including­ chegov and, 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 532­8147 or brunoaf@lafour­ For hurricanes stronger than Catego­ ry 3, Lafourche may open shelters at any of these locations: h Central Lafourche High, 4820 La. 1, Raceland. h Thibodaux High, 1355 Tiger Drive, Thibodaux. h Raceland Recreation Center, 241

Michaela Callais, right, and her mother Rachel Callais clean up the roof of Michaela’s house in Golden Meadow on Oct. 29, 2020, a day after Hurricane Zeta hit the area. BRAD WEIMER/SPECIAL TO HOUMA COURIER-THIBODAUX DAILY COMET

Recreation Drive, Raceland. Major storms may call for an evacua­ tion. Those without transportation will be bused to three recreation buildings in Monroe, Boudreaux said. Residents with pets must have a carrier with them to travel on the buses. Pet carriers need to be able to fi t 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 par­ ish’s re­entry system at The site allows business owners and others to undergo pre­screening when a limited number of people are allowed to return to the parish to assess damages. The parish e­notifi cations, social media sites and the Alert FM app are the most eff ective ways to learn when it’s safe to return to Lafourche, offi cials said. Residents with special needs or

their caregivers are asked to call the Emergency Preparedness Offi ce at 532­ 8174 to set up available resources in the event of an evacuation. To fi nd out about road closures, call Louisiana State Police at 1­800­469­ 4828. For information about other ways to prepare for hurricane season, visit the Louisiana Offi ce of Emergency Pre­ paredness website at getagameplan. org.



A woman walks out of a house in Chauvin on Oct. 29, 2020, a day after the roof was torn away by Hurricane Zeta. PROVIDED

How to build a grab-and-go box It’s possible to replace birth and death certifi cates, tax records, banking infor­ mation, wills, medical information, deeds and other important documents should they be lost or destroyed. But it’s a lot easier to protect them instead. The LSU AgCenter has developed a guide to building a collection of records and documents — a “grab­and­go box” — modeled off similar suggestions from other Gulf Coast states. Place paper records in portable boxes that are durable, sealed, fi reproof and waterproof. Papers in the box should be sealed in waterproof plastic bags. The AgCenter also recommends a backpack, preferably waterproof, for easier carrying. As a backup, put copies of these rec­ ords on a USB thumb drive or upload them to the cloud using a service like

Dropbox or Google Drive. Unless you ab­ solutely need paper copies, this can not only save plenty of time as you evacuate but make your go box more manageable. Gathering and storing personal rec­ ords also can help you recover in case of other disasters, such as fi res. Your box should include the following: h Traveler’s checks or cash. h Rolls of quarters. h Emergency phone numbers includ­ ing family members, doctors, pharma­ cies, fi nancial advisers, clergy and repair contractors. Keep those in your cell­ phone too. h Copies of important prescriptions such as medication and eyeglasses. h A cellphone charger and cable. h Copies of children’s immunization records. h Copies of health, dental and pre­

scription insurance cards and phone numbers. h Copies of auto, fl ood, renters and homeowners insurance policies or at least the policy numbers. h Insurance company telephone numbers, including numbers for local agents and company headquarters. h Copies of real­estate deeds, vehicle titles, wills, durable power of attorney, health care directives, stock and bond certifi cates and birth, death, adoption, citizenship and marriage certifi cates. h Copies of a home inventory. h Copies of passports. h Copies of employee benefi t docu­ ments. h Copies of the fi rst two pages of the previous year’s federal and state in­ come­tax returns. h Keys to any safe­deposit box.

h List of numbers for Social Security, bank accounts, loans, credit cards, driv­ er’s licenses and investment accounts. h Usernames and passwords. h Photocopies of the front and back of all credit cards. Store the box or backpack in safe, out­ of­sight spot in your home. When evacu­ ating, keep the box with you all times and avoid leaving it in unattended vehicles. It’s a good idea to keep originals of personal documents in the grab­and­go 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 disas­ ters, such as missing payments and damaging credit ratings. The records also can make fi ling FEMA claims easier. Replacing most personal information is doable but can take months.


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

The Bayou’s Best Choice


There’s Serving the community nothing natural since about a 1986 disaster. 4512 Country Dr, Bourg, LA 985-594-5888 Mon-Sun 7am-7:30pm

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.

James Langlois 985-262-3140

102 Wilson Avenue Houma, LA

© 2019 Allstate Insurance Co.


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


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]

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. 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

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.

Cool Comfort ... Put emergency info at responders’ fingertips The setup is very All 2021 Summer Long easy. Most phones Melissa Erickson

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USA TODAY NETWORK Your Comfort Specialist Since 1947



f an emergency or an accident leaves you incapacitated and unable to communicate ADVERTISING your phone can be a valuable tool, as long as first responders CIRCULATION can access crucial information. To make that happen, add ICE — ONLINE or in case of emergency — tion to your phone’s lock screen. XXXXXXX XXXXXXX is created annually “Having in case of emergency by Gannett and is distributed with information on your lock screen various newspapers across the country. will quickly provide first respondReproduction in whole or in part without ers vital information about you in prior written permission is strictly prohibited. Opinions expressed in the publication are the event of an emergency,” said • 24/7 Emergency Service those of the authors and do notResidential necessarily • Commercial Kayla Greene, senior supervisor represent those of the management of the at Consumer Cellular. “Having publication. access to vital information such Cover images: Freepik as allergies or current medications you are taking will inform ©2021 GANNETT CO. INC. medics, allowing them to provide 308 Hickory Street, Thibodaux | ALL RIGHTS RESERVED HX-00064380 64380 the best treatment. It also gives EDITORIAL


is already set up, it’s still easily added,” Greene said. For iPhone users, open the Health walk customers app that is pre-installed on the through adding the phone and select Create Medical ID. information during For Android users, go into the initial setup. If Settings > About phone or Users & Accounts and select the phone is already set up, Emergency information. it’s still easily added. It’s just as important for people KAYLA GREENE, CONSUMER CELLULAR 9 1 to understand how to unlock this 0 2 information on someone else’s phone in an emergency. Once added first responders a way to contact to the lock screen, emergency inforthose closest to you quickly to mation can be revealed by tapping SERVING THE inform them of the situation.” Emergency in the lower-left corner In addition to medical condifollowed by pressing Medical ID. COMMUNITY SINCE tions and medications, emer“Readers should know they are 1986 can also gency information able to control their level of priinclude blood type and whether vacy by providing only information a person is an organ donor. that they’re comfortable sharing,” “The setup is very easy. Most said. “Also, first respond4512 Country Drive Greene • Bourg, La. 985-594-5888 phones walk customers through ers who will access the adding the information durtion will not have access to any ing the initial setup. If the phone other information on the device.”


Melissa Erickson

How to make a




isasters strike quickly and without warning. They can push you from your home or force you to shelter in place. Having a family disaster plan can make coping with whatever situation arises easier to handle. “Emergencies are more common than we think. They can happen anywhere at any time,” said Marilyn Jimenez Davila, American Red Cross spokesperson, Los Angeles Region. From natural disasters to chemical accidents, the American Red Cross responds to more than 60,000 emergencies nationwide each year, and the majority of those are home fires, she said. The Red Cross responds to an emergency every eight seconds. Because disasters happen more frequently than people think, planning for them is a must, Jimenez Davila said. Americans are more concerned but less prepared for future crises, according to the fifth annual National Domestic Preparedness Survey from Healthcare Ready, a national nonprofit focused on health-care preparedness and response. The poll found that less than half of those surveyed have an emergency plan in place or are likely to create one this year. This is a big concern from a public safety standpoint, said Daniel Barnett, associate professor in the Department of Environmental Health and Engineering in the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. While Americans can count on help arriving after an emergency or disaster, there is a window of selfsustainability that people need to be prepared for, Barnett said. In a largescale natural disaster that window can be 72 hours or longer, he said. For crisis recovery, the best defense is a good offense. Families should have an emergency kit, make a plan and stay informed, Jimenez Davila said.

Know what type of disaster to expect “Download the Red Cross

emergency app — the one with the exclamation point — to learn what your risks are depending on where you live,” Jimenez Davila said. In addition to alerts about possible emergencies and places to shelter, the app’s map feature allows users to set up alerts for their home as well as those of family members in other parts of the country.

Establish meeting places, family contact “Make two meet-up points: one outside the home in case of something like a home fire and another further out if family members are not able to come back to the area,” Jimenez Davila said. Chose an out-of-area contact person like a relative or family friend because in an emergency phone lines will be overloaded and possibly down, she said. Texting will usually work better than calling.

Pack a go-bag; create an emergency kit If you have to leave your house in a hurry you will need an easy-to-carry go-bag filled with essential items such as water, nonperishable food, medication, first aid kit, clothing, flashlight, phone chargers, important paperwork and some cash in smaller bills to buy necessities, Jimenez Davila said. “Prepping for emergencies now is a little different. Update kits with COVID-19 supplies such as masks, hand sanitizers and wipes,” she said. Add in small comfort items such as a book or a teddy bear, and don’t forget to plan for your pets, too. A home emergency kit is just a more comprehensive version of a go-bag with additional items based on disasters common to your area. Visit for a complete list.

Practice your plan; keep it up to date “Preparing for an emergency isn’t a one-time thing. You’ve got to keep in practice,” Jimenez Davila said. “Your plan will evolve. Families will need to reassess over time.”


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

• 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.

jet stream Ocean

Caribbean Ocean Ocean Caribbean Warm Sea

Carib Se

USA TODAY THURSDAY, MAY 27, 2021 | Cool 23S WarmNETWORK | Cool water water water water

orm vocabul Know your storm 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

maximum sustained surface winds of 38 mph or less. Tropical storm: An organized system of strong thunderstorms with a defined circulation and maximum sustained surface winds of 39-73 mph. Tropical storm watch: Tropical

storm conditions are POSSIBLE in the specified area of the watch, usually within 36 hours. Tropical storm warning: Tropical

storm conditions are

EXPECTED in the specified area of the warning, usually within 24 hours. Hurricane: An intense tropical system with a well-defined circulation and a maximum sustained winds of 74 mph or greater. Hurricane season: June 1 through Nov. 30. Hurricane watch:

Hurricane conditions are POSSIBLE in the specified area of the watch, usually within 36 hours.

specified area of the warning, usually within 24 hours. Invest: An ocean weather system forecasters have designated as important to monitor. The designation does not correspond to any particular likelihood the system will develop or strengthen. Major hurricane:

Forecasters sometimes use this term to refer to Category 3 or hurricanes. Small-craft advisory:

Hurricane warning:

When a hurricane moves within a few hundred

Hurricane conditions are EXPECTED in the

Stay Safe During This Hurricane Season

miles of the coast, small-craft owners should not venture out into the open ocean. Storm surge: Water level rise caused by hurricane winds and low pressure. However, when surge levels are combined with the already-present tide, “storm surge” becomes “storm tide.” If storm surge hits a coastal area during its high tide, it can cause even more damage. El Niño: A 12- to 18-month period during which unusually warm sea surface temperatures occur

in the eastern half of the equatorial Pacific. Moderate or strong El Nino events occur irregularly, about once every three to seven years on average. La Niña: Unusually cold ocean temperatures in the equatorial Pacific that often occurs between El Nino events. Because there’s only so much energy available in the tropics, La Nina usually means more active hurricane season in the Atlantic. Source: National Hurricane Center




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What to do in a

POWER OUTAGE By Melissa Erickson

for portable generators.

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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.”



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



2021 hurricane names: From Ana to Wanda, is yours on the list? Grace Pateras

Hurricane names on standby

Hurricane Rated and Serving Southeast Non-Rated versions of all Louisiana for 22 Years! products available.

Houma Courier-Thibodaux Daily Comet

2021 hurricane names Six lists of pre­determined names are used on rotation for identifying Atlantic hurricanes each season. The lists are maintained and updated by an interna­ tional committee of the World Meteoro­ logical Organization. Names alternate between female and male names alphabetically and are not named after any particular person. There are no names that begin with Q, U, X, Y or Z because of the lack of us­ able names that begin with those let­ ters. This season, hurricanes will be named the following: 12 Larry 1 Ana 13 Mindy 2 Bill 14 Nicholas 3 Claudette 15 Odette 4 Danny 16 Peter 5 Elsa 17 Rose 6 Fred 18 Sam 7 Grace 19 Teresa 8 Henri 20 Victor 9 Ida 21 Wanda 10 Julian 11 Kate








Retired hurricane names Bummed your name isn't on the list? There could be a reason for that. If a storm is so deadly or costly to the impacted area, using it to name a future storm would be inappropriate and in­ sensitive. In that case, a committee will vote to strike it from the offi cial recur­ ring list and select another name to re­ place it, according to the organization. Retired names include Katrina (2005), Sandy (2012), and Michael (2018). Earlier this year, the organization also retired Dorian (2019), and Laura (2020), Eta (2020), and Iota (2020). Since 1954, 93 names have been re­ tired and replaced. Grace Pateras is a Digital Producer for the USA TODAY Network. Follow her on Twitter at @gracepateras.

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Is your name on the list? Not if you're named after the Greek alphabet. The World Meteorological Organization, which is in charge of hur­ ricane names worldwide, announced that the Greek alphabet will no longer be used when a hurricane season runs out of names, like it did in 2020. Instead, once the offi cial list of hurri­ cane names has been exhausted, anoth­ er list of names will be used. Hurricane season offi cially starts June 1, though the National Hurricane Center started issuing regular storm forecasts for the Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico on May 15 this year due to six consecutive years of early storms. From Ana to Wanda, these are the names of the 2021 hurricane season.

Goodbye Zeta, and hello Sophie. If this year is anything like last sea­ son, there could be more storms than the list of 21 names. Unlike last season, any additional storms will not use the Greek alphabet. This is because the use of Greek al­ phabet names "creates a distraction from the communication of hazard and storm warnings and is potentially con­ fusing," the WMO said in a statement. In 2020, storm names included Al­ pha, Beta, Gamma, Epsilon, Zeta, Eta, Theta and Iota. In the case of a highly active hurri­ cane season, the following names will be assigned: 12 Lucio 1 Adria 13 Makayla 2 Braylen 14 Nolan 3 Caridad 15 Orlanda 4 Deshawn 16 Pax 5 Emery 17 Ronin 6 Foster 18 Sophie 7 Gemma 19 Tayshaun 8 Heath 20 Viviana 9 Isla 21 Will 10 Jacobus 11 Kenzie




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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:

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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 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 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


12 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




Causeway to I-12 West to I-55 North


Lake Borgne




Intracoastal Waterway



Are you ready for a storm?

your property and belongings? 6. Do you have copies of your policies, inventory, other important papers and valuable in a safe place — one that’s waterproof and fireproof? Have you put them on a USB drive you can take with you if you evacuate or stored them in the cloud? 7. Do you know how to turn off your electricity, gas and water? 8. Do you have a plan and supplies on hand to protect and secure your home, outdoor items, boat, pool and so forth? 9. Has your roof been inspected within the past six months? 10. Have you trimmed the trees and shrubs around your house? 11. Has your car been

now is the time to take action.

The LSU AgCenter has compiled a list of questions to help you and your family determine whether you are truly prepared for a storm. “Having the right answers before a storm comes your way can help you be prepared if a hurricane strikes,” says LSU AgCenter housing specialist Claudette Reichel. “Even if you’ve been through a hurricane before, it’s easy to forget some of the preparations that can protect your property and family.” If you answer “no” or “I don’t know” to any question,

1. Do you have a disaster survival plan? 2. Have you planned an evacuation route and destination? 3. Do you have an emergency communication plan for staying in touch or getting messages to friends and family? 4. Is your homeowners’ and flood insurance coverage up to date and sufficient to replace your home and belongings if they are damaged or destroyed? 5. Do you have an inventory of

to take care of family members with special needs, including infants, the elderly or those with disabilities? 17. Have you decided what you will do with your animals if you must evacuate? 18. Have you budgeted for the added expenses to protect your home, buy supplies, evacuate, clean up and recover? 19. Have you discussed your emergency plans, duties and rules with your family? 20. Do you know that the LSU AgCenter offers publications and other free information on disaster cleanup and recovery on its website, lsuagcenter. com?

Louisiana emergency evacuation map




maintained, and are the tires, including the spare, in good condition? 12. Do you have a plan of what to do with food in your refrigerator and freezer in the event of a possible power outage? 13. Is your emergency phone list up to date and handy? 14. Do you have emergency survival supplies such as batteries, a battery operated radio, flashlights, lanterns, fuel, nonperishable food for three days, water jugs, manual can opener, medicines, traveler’s checks or cash, and so forth on hand? 15. Do you have an emergency supply kit for your car? 16. Do you have a plan of how

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,

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.





Evacuation phases


5 3

7 8




Baton Rouge


Lake Charles


Intercoastal waterway

Lafayette 10 90

New Orleans


10 miles

Sources: Louisiana Office of Emergency Preparedness;©HERE


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.



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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.

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

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.”

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


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.

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 2 x 4 braces

Attic floor

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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Together, we weathered the storms. And we’re ready for the next one. Last year was a historic storm season for Louisiana. Just like always, our communities stood strong. We appreciate your cooperation and understanding as our crews worked to restore power.

At Entergy Louisiana, preparing for storm season is a year-round commitment. We’ve rebuilt and reinforced the power grid, we’re working safely within COVID-19 protocols, and our teams are ready to respond to whatever comes next.

Learn how you can stay prepared at

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Terrebonne General Health System is always ready for the storms that life may bring, especially when disaster strikes close to home. Responding to the unexpected is nothing new to our team of professionals. We continually train for potential emergencies, and the healthcare heroes at Terrebonne General are prepared so that if the worst happens; you can count on us to deliver the best, most advanced healthcare for you and your family.

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