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Hurricane Resources

Hurricane Information and Webpage Resources

Louisiana, with over 400 miles of coastline, is extremely vulnerable to the destructive winds and storm surge associated with hurricanes. In addition, the inland areas of north and central Louisiana are not spared the destructive forces of land falling tropical storms or hurricanes. Tornadoes and rainfalls total 10 to 20 inches causing flashing flooding often accompany tropical storms or hurricanes as they move inland over Louisiana. During the early portion of the Hurricane Season, Louisiana residents, especially those in vulnerable coastal locations, should review action they would take if a hurricane threatened the Louisiana coast. This lack of planning could lead to large loss of life if a major hurricane struck Louisiana. Some locations may take only a few hours to evacuate while large metropolitan areas may take several days to fully evacuate for a major hurricane. A recent hurricane evacuation study of southeast Louisiana indicates that it may take over 48 hours to evacuate the greater New Orleans area in the event a major hurricane threatened the region.

CATEGORIES OF HURRICANES

CATEGORY 1:
Winds 74 - 95 mph. Minimal damage. No significant wind damage to well constructed buildings. Some damage is done to poorly constructed signs, mobile homes, shrubbery, trees and foliage and minor pier damage.

CATEGORY 2:
Winds 96 - 100 mph. Moderate damage. Some roofing material, doors and windows can be damaged by winds. Considerable damage done to mobile homes, vegetation and piers. Small craft in unprotected anchorage s break their moorings.

CATEGORY 3:
Winds 101 - 130 mph. Extensive damage. Winds can cause structural damage to homes and utility buildings with a minor amount of curtain wall failure. Mobile homes are destroyed. Storm surge flooding destroys many smaller buildings while large buildings are damaged by floating debris. Terrain continuously lower than 10 feet above mean sea level is flooded.

CATEGORY 4:
Winds 131 - 155 mph. Extreme damage. More extensive curtain wall failures with some complete roof failure on homes. Major damage to lower floors of homes and businesses from storm surge flooding. Terrain continuously lower than 15 feet mean sea level is flooded.

CATEGORY 5:
Winds greater than 155 mph. Catastrophic damage. Complete roof failure of many homes and businesses. Complete structural failure of many small buildings. Major storm surge flooding to areas lower than 20 feet above mean sea level.

WEATHER TERMINOLOGY:
Tropical Storm Watch: Issued when a tropical storm or tropical storm condition pose a threat to coastal areas within 36 hours. Tropical Storm Warning: Issued when tropical storm conditions with sustained wind speeds of 39 - 37 mph are expected in the coastal area within 24 hours. Hurricane Watch: Issued for a coastal area where there is a threat of hurricane conditions within 24 - 36 hours. A watch may be issued earlier than 36 hours in advance for areas which require long preparation and evacuation times such as New Orleans. Hurricane Warnings: Issued when hurricane conditions are expected in the coastal area in 24 hours or less. Hurricane conditions include winds of 74 mph or higher and/or dangerously high tides and waves. Action for protection of life and property should begin immediately when a warning is issued. Inland High Wind Warning for Hurricane Force Winds: Issued when hurricane force winds, greater than 74 mph, are expected to occur beyond the coastal area and outside of the traditional hurricane warning area on the coast. Major hurricanes typically produce hurricane force winds over inland areas. Tropical Disturbance: Organized thunderstorm activity in the tropics and subtropics not associated with a front maintaining its identity for 24 hours or more. Tropical Depression: A tropical low pressure system in which the maximum sustained wind speed is 33 knots (38 mph) or less. Tropical Storm: A tropical low pressure system in which the maximum sustained wind speed ranges from 34 - 63 knots (38 mph) or less. Hurricane: A tropical low pressure system in which the maximum sustained wind speed is 64 knots (74 mph) or greater.

PREPAREDNESS BEFORE A HURRICANE STRIKES:
During the hurricane season you should have on hand a general list of items including a supply of non-perishable food, bottled water, a first aid kit, flashlight, fire extinguisher, an extra set of clothing already packed ready to leave on a moments notice, a battery powered commercial radio and extra batteries. If a hurricane threatens, store water in a clean bathtub, jugs or pails as water systems may be inoperative. If you live near the coast, or along coastal bayous and tidal lakes that are prone to flooding, have a safe evacuation route planned well in advance and be prepared to leave early. Persons living in mobile homes in coastal areas should also plan on evacuating since mobile homes are extremely vulnerable to strong wind gusts associated with hurricanes. Even if you live behind hurricane protection levees you may be asked to evacuate as most levees can be over topped by the storm surge generated from a direct strike by a powerful hurricane. If you are not in danger of storm surge flooding, and decided not to evacuate, you are still vulnerable to wind related damage from hurricanes. The safest place of shelter from destructive winds and tornadoes are small interior rooms on the lowest floor of a well constructed house or building. Residents of central and north Louisiana who are vulnerable from heavy rainfall should check homeowners insurance policies, as most homeowners policies do not cover flood losses. Check into the availability of flood insurance thru the National Flood Insurance program by contacting your local insurance agent. During hurricane problem days stay tuned to a local TV station OR WJBO - 11.50 AM OR WLSS FM 102.5 for instructions on when and where to evacuate and what route to travel. There are hurricane travel route signs on evacuation routes for your assistance. Do not dial 9-1-1 unless you have a true (life threatening) emergency. The Office of Emergency Preparedness works closely with law enforcement and fire departments from all areas of the parish. There are numerous training classes that are made available, free of charge, to all emergency response agencies. All of these emergency response agencies working together, along with the training classes made available to them, assists in better protecting the life and property of West Baton Rouge Residents.


 

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