Despite predictions, local leaders want people prepared for hurr - FOX 8 WVUE New Orleans News, Weather, Sports

Despite predictions, local leaders want people prepared for hurricane season

Updated:

A lot of experts believe hurricane activity over the next few months will be normal. Still on this first day of the new season, emergency managers are quick to point out, we should be ready for anything this year.

This year, city and parish leaders stressed the importance of heeding to warnings to leave when there's a major threat in the Gulf.

"After Katrina, I was one of the stupid ones that stayed and rode out Katrina, 14 miles to the eye, I rescued 30 people that lived with me for over a month," said Plaquemines Parish President Billy Nungesser.

"We tell you you've got to evacuate, please listen, and make your own plans, you're getting the same information we're getting, if you think you need to leave, leave, don't wait for us to tell you," said St. Charles Parish President V.J. St. Pierre.

And while it's the official start of the season, we've already had two named storms in the last two weeks, Tropical Storms Alberto and Beryl.

FOX 8 Chief Meteorologist Bob Breck points out that doesn't necessarily mean we'll have an active season.

"It is not normal to have the early storms, however, it has happened before. In 1908, we even had a hurricane in the month of May, but you know what we ended up that year with I think six or eight storms, and it was a very quiet year, so early season does not mean what the rest of the season is going to be," said Breck.

Breck also says the El Nino effect may reduce the intensity of any storm that may head this way.

"From all indications with the cooler Atlantic waters, and the increasing wind sheer, from supposedly an El Nino coming on, it should be a less active season. That just doesn't mean we wont get any storms, it means possibly they won't be as intense. We're likely to see maybe one or two threats though in the Gulf," said Breck.

"We're as prepared as we're going to be," said Slidell resident Mary McClain.

McClain says she and her family aren't taking any chances.

"I've been here 15 years, and I don't stay. I head up north, and see family and friends, take advantage of it. My life's too important, my family is too important," said McClain.

"We actually will leave before they tell us to, cause we don't want to be stuck in the traffic, so if we see one coming this way, and it looks like it's coming, we're gone," said Diane Laborde.

The Louisiana Department of Transportation listened to complaints after the Hurricane Gustav evacuation, and now in response, plans to set up portable toilets in some locations along the contra flow route.

"It's just a chance I don't want to take, not with my children and my family, I've got to get out, and just take that ride," said Bordelon.

The Army Corps of Engineers says with billions of dollars invested in new levees, flood walls and other flood protection people should have greater confidence if tropical weather sweeps out of the Gulf.

City leaders urge you to make your storm preparations now.

If you need help evacuating or need to view New Orleans contra flow plans, visit the city's new website: ready.nola.gov  

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