While Tropical Storm Cindy moving toward the Louisiana coast is not expected to become a hurricane or lead to major evacuations, it's still important to take stock of your emergency preparations. Heavy rainfall through Thursday could cause street flooding, and storms can cause lengthy power outages.
"We urge our neighbors to take care now to prepare their families and connect with their neighbors: Build a kit, make a plan, stay informed," said Joshua Joachim, chief executive of the Red Cross in Louisiana.
Here are our preparation tips, collected from the Red Cross and others.
- Stay informed. Follow news sources like NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune, local TV and radio stations, and social media accounts of your local officials. Download apps that will give you weather and emergency updates like the Red Cross Emergency App. For a full list of resources, click the link below.
- Make sure your emergency kit is stocked. Emergency kits can include enough food, water and medication for three days, important documents, clothing, a crank radio and back-up chargers for any devices. The Red Cross recommends keeping valuables and documents such as insurance policies in a safe-deposit box, but to have pictures on a phone just in case. A flash drive attached to house or car keys can also help to insure copies of important documents stay safe.
Reach out to visitors to make sure they have an emergency plan and access to supplies.
See our video below for the basics of a hurricane prep kit.
- Protect your car: If you know your street or regular parking area is susceptible to flooding, find higher ground for your vehicle.
- Protect your home: Store lawn furniture and other outdoor items to prevent them from being tossed around. Don't forget to stow away toys and even small gardening tools. A cleaned out gutter or downspout will also go a long way to prevent flooding or additional pressure on a home, and parish officials are asking residents to help clear drains near their home.
If forecasts indicate strengthening winds, consider whether you want to protect your windows with storm shutters or plywood.
- The Red Cross recommends mobile home residents evacuate early ahead of severe weather. "Never ride out a tropical storm, hurricane or tornado in a mobile home - even if it's in a non-evacuation zone," the Red Cross warns.
- The impacts of this storm are mostly expected to be street flooding. But if your house is in a low-lying area or you know you're at risk of flooding, consider additional preparations. Move furniture and valuables to higher floors of the house or lift them off the ground. Turn off utilities if local authorities recommend.
- The Red Cross reminds locals not to forget about their pets in a storm.
"Consider a precautionary evacuation of your animals, especially any large or numerous animals. Waiting until the last minute could be fatal for them and dangerous for you."
They recommend moving animals to higher ground, and moving sooner rather than later if a horse or other trailer is involved. A pet emergency kit (including leashes, food and water bowls, medications, a first aid kit and pictures of the pet and family) will help ease an evacuation.
Have more suggestions for your fellow Louisianians? Leave them in the comments below.