Every week WWNO's Listening Post project asks questions about local news in New Orleans and the Gulf Coast and reports back on the community's response. This week's topic is hurricane season.
Hear that? That ominous music playing on the evening news? It can only mean one thing: hurricane season is here and it's time to get ready.
Most forecasters predict a mild summer, but longtime local weatherman Bob Breck has little use for general seasonal predictions.
"Until they can tell me the location and the time, it's really not of much value," Breck says.
What really determines a bad storm season, says Breck, is the law of averages. It’s been nine years since the last major weather event and, thanks to coastal erosion, even moderate storms can cause trouble.
"Now we're finding we don't even need a hurricane to cause significant flood problems, tidal surges and whatnot," he says.
Breck says some people wait until the last minute because leaving can be a financial burden.
"Evacuation is expensive. We don't want to make that decision unless we have to."
He also says the glut of information available on social media and the internet plays a role.
"Normally when people get conflicting information, they delay their decision. If, say, they're running short on money, it's a tight month, they'll throw the dice and see what comes up. How bad can it be? Well, we know how bad it can be. We've been there, but people have short memories."
Click below to listen to more of our interview with Bob Breck.
Since we don’t know what we don’t know, we thought we’d see what you, the Listening Posters, had on your minds as you prepare.
As always, we sent out some questions via text message.
- What would you name a hurricane?
- Do you prepare for hurricane season? Why or why not?
- How do you prepare?
Here's a list of names you suggested:
Shiva or Mars
Pan, Pan-ic & Pan-demonium
Dante, Isabella or Paolo
Zenobia for female Xerxes for male
And here are some of the other responses we got:
"I keep a few hundred dollars cash in a drawer in my house. I don’t really prepare. I have family in Shreveport and BR. My plan is always just to head there. One thing I am concerned about is the weather service predicts a light season. They always predict an over active season and it never is. The fact they’re always wrong makes the light prediction unnerving.”
"I get the pets all ready, vaccinated and seen by the vet, so if we have to evacuate they have all their shots and can be accepted to be boarded anywhere we go. So far, if I get them ready, we haven’t had to leave town. Also keep freezer mostly empty, so nothing to spoil. And as far as names, don’t want the responsibility of picking a name we might all end up hating… have a good safe season"
"Don’t like to leave. I prepare by having batteries, can food, and water for my family. I also put aside money for gas to go to my family out of town.”
"In the past i have been woefully unprepared. But certainly am improving. Never evacuated. Never will.”
“Going to participate in evacuation activities that the city offers. May also train as a volunteer to help evacuation prep for community.”
"Of course I prepare, but on a case by case basis. I won’t tempt fate by hoarding batteries and water in advance. I do avoid making travel arrangements during the highest heights of hurricane season to make sure evacuation won’t get in the way/and so I’ll be home to help put up the plywood.”
“I do prepare by making sure I have water, toiletries, and other essentials in case of an evacuation. I prepare so that I am not in a rush to pack and leave it we are asked to.”
"No because you really can’t if you have no extra money and you are living from pay check to pay check."
"The more years that go by without a major storm, the easier it is push preparedness to the back of one’s to-do list."
If there's one group in town that knows a little something about hurricane preparedness, it's Evacuteer.org. The organization has collaborated with the City of New Orleans on a comprehensive plan for a mandatory evacuation.
We took our newest Listening Post sculpture — a fish! — to their Hello Hurricane Season summit in Armstrong Park to hear what people had to say about how they prepare for a major storm.
David Morris is president of the organization's Executive Leadership Committee.
"My hurricane evacuation plan is to stay and help make sure that everybody gets out of town safely," Morris says. "As a board member of Evacuteer.org, I'm really proud of the work that we do in order to help people who need help the most when times are tough and the situation is dangerous."
Click below to hear more from David Morris.
For more information on hurricane preparedness, visit NOLA Ready.
And remember: If you'd like to add your voice to the conversation text "hello" or call our number (504-224-5314).
Hit us up… we’ll see YOU at the Listening Post.