GOHSEP asking public to ‘keep an eye on the Gulf of Mexico’

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BATON ROUGE, La. (BRPROUD) – As if 2020 has not been rough enough up to this point, Gonzalo is expected to become the first hurricane of the Atlantic season.

With that in mind, the Governor’s Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness is getting a head start and asking the public to keep an eye on Gonzalo.

The latest information from the National Hurricane Center is found below:

A tropical wave is producing a large area of disorganized showers and thunderstorms over the eastern Gulf of Mexico, central and southern Florida, and western Cuba. Gradual development of this system is possible while it moves west-northwestward. A tropical depression could form during the next few days. This disturbance is expected to move over the central Gulf today. It will reach the northwestern Gulf on Thursday and Friday. An Air Force Reserve Hurricane Hunter aircraft is scheduled to investigate the system later today, if necessary.

  • Formation chance through 48 hours…medium…40 percent.
  • Formation chance through 5 days…medium…50 percent.

Information on Potential Impact to Louisiana from the National Weather Service (NWS):

  • Any storm or band of rain/storms may contain gusty winds in excess of 35 to 45 mph. A few isolated higher gusts (>45 mph) possible in any stronger storm through Friday.
  • Outside of any thunderstorm activity, winds will become breezy in and around coastal areas starting today (gusts 15-25 mph), spreading more inland Thursday and Friday.
  • Locally heavy rainfall possible in any heavier bands of showers and storms at any point today through Friday. Watch for localized flooding Thursday and Friday, as we remain in a Marginal Risk for excessive rainfall.
  • Dangerous lightning possible.
  • Higher than normal tides could produce some coastal flooding along coastal southeastern LA and southern MS. More so in and around areas that traditionally see coastal flooding from enhanced onshore wind flow.

Now is the time to make an emergency communications plan and gather emergency supplies.

GOHSEP provided a list of materials to collect for your supply kit:

  • A three to five- day supply of water (one gallon per person per day) and food that won’t spoil
  • A supply of face coverings, hand sanitizer and disinfectant wipes due to COVID19 concerns
  • One change of clothing and footwear per person, and one blanket or sleeping bag per person
  • A first aid kit that includes your family’s prescription medications
  • Emergency tools including a battery-powered radio, flashlight and plenty of extra batteries
  • An extra set of car keys and a credit card, cash or traveler’s checks
  • Sanitation supplies
  • Special items for infant, elderly or disabled family members
  • An extra pair of glasses
  • Important family documents in a portable, waterproof container
  • Mess kits, paper cups, plates and plastic utensils, paper towels
  • Paper and pencil
  • Books, games, puzzles or other activities for children
  • Infant formula and diapers
  • Pet food and water

“We are urging everyone to closely watch this system as it moves across the Gulf of Mexico,” said GOHSEP Director Jim Waskom. “While the forecast tracks continue to indicate a Texas landfall, any tropical system in the gulf could potentially result in dangerous weather conditions in Louisiana. Monitor the NHC, your local NWS office and the media for updates. At this time, heavy rains and higher than normal tides appear to be the biggest threat for the state. The State Emergency Operations Center (SEOC) remains activated due to the ongoing COVID-19 emergency. GOHSEP stands ready to respond to any requests for support from our parish partners related to the potential weather threat. GOHSEP has recently redesigned our www.getagameplan.org website to help provide you with preparedness information. We are now heading into what is traditionally the heart of hurricane season, so it is important to finalize your emergency game plan, even while we all continue the fight to stop the spread of COVID-19.”

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