BATON ROUGE, La (BRPROUD) — Louisiana is no stranger to severe weather, and with spring being the peak months for severe weather, the time to prepare for these storms is right now because when the alerts start popping up on your phone, it may be too late to plan.
Not everyone knows how to prepare for these kinds of storms, but Clay Rives, Director of the Mayor’s Office of Homeland Security & Emergency Preparedness, says there are a few essential precautions that could save your life.
“Everyone should have a plan first and they need to have a communications plan as well as a plan for what actions they may need to take,” Rives says.
There are a few items you should consider gathering before a severe weather event. “The disaster supply checklist really is water, food, a can opener if you have canned goods, flashlight, first aid kit, a weather radio is always good depending on the disaster itself or the incident, cell phone, make sure you have batteries… important documents.” Rives says.
But not every weather event provides enough warning, so he says you should prepare now, “A lot of people remember back in 2016 flood when it was a no-notice event, you know, they wake up with water in their house. So they get out of harm’s way. Well, a lot of them left important documents that got ruined by the water.”
But in most cases, Rives recommends watching local news coverage to remain up-to-date with weather warnings. But what exactly does each watch and warning mean for you?
Generally speaking, a watch means the conditions are favorable for severe weather, which does not necessarily indicate severe weather has been reported or spotted. A watch is a time to get a plan together if you do not already have one.
A warning is different. A warning means a severe weather event has been reported or spotted, and you should seek shelter immediately.
Other than hurricanes, two weather events we are likely to encounter are severe thunderstorms and tornadoes.
Thunderstorms and tornadoes have similar implications for watches versus warnings, and you should monitor the weather conditions regardless of the status.
When it is time to shelter, there are a few factors to consider.
The best place to seek shelter in case of a tornado is in a basement or a tornado shelter, but another option is a windowless interior room.
For information on storm preparations, Red Stick Ready has consistent content on their social media about different ways to prepare yourself and resources after a severe weather event.
As Rives says, keeping an eye on your local news coverage is the best way to stay informed about severe weather. You can download the free BRProud Wx app to get the weather alerts that matter to you.
For more information on the BRProud Wx app, search for it in the app store on your phone.
For more information on The Mayor’s Office of Homeland Security & Emergency Preparedness, visit the website HERE.