Fortunately, hurricanes are not generally a concern here in Orange County, but we are very concerned for our fellow Americans over on the Gulf Coast. This will be the first time the new levees and flood gates in Louisiana have been tested since Katrina.
The amount of damage a hurricane causes depends on several keys factors besides the wind or hurricane rating. Just like earthquakes, the direction or angle – and speed – that the storm comes into land is very significant to the amount of potential damage or loss. You may think if it hits the shore quicker it would cause more damage, but actually if the storm slows down before landfall it is significantly more likely to be more destructive. Hurricane Isaac did slow down before hitting the Louisiana coast, and the people of Plaquemines Parish are in trouble.
“We haven’t seen anything like this, not even with Katrina,” said Billy Nungesser, the parish’s president. “Those areas that didn’t flood for Katrina were flooded for this storm. If this is a Category 1 storm, I don’t want to see anything stronger.”
It’s easy for us, basking in the summer sunshine here in Orange County to say, “Why didn’t they evacuate? Didn’t they learn anything from Katrina?” But don’t forget, Louisiana has a very depressed economy, and some people just don’t have the resources to relocate, even if their lives are potentially in danger.
We would like to share some helpful advice to those who are planning on battening down the hatches and staying put to ride out the storm:
- Hopefully, before a storm is even on the horizon, you have already put together an emergency kit and made a family communications plan in case of separation.
- Be familiar with your surroundings. You may not be at home when the storm hits.
- Research your home’s elevation level and whether the land is flood-prone. (This can happen in Tustin, by the way!) This will help you know how your property will be affected by a storm as it approaches.
- Are there levees and dams in your area? Determine whether they pose a hazard to you and your property.
- Make a plan as to how you can utilize community hurricane evacuation routes to find higher ground, and how you will get there.
- Ensure you have the materials to secure your home. If you don’t have permanent storm shutters, which offer the best protection, board up windows with 5/8″ marine plywood, cut to fit and ready to install.
- NOTE: It’s an old wives’ tale that tape will prevent your windows from breaking. Don’t find out the hard way.
- Install straps or additional clips to securely fasten your roof to the frame structure in order to reduce roof damage.
- Trim trees and shrubs around your property to allow them to be more wind resistant—don’t discount the damage they can do to your home if uprooted.
- Make sure all rain gutters and downspouts are cleared.
- If the wind enters a garage, it can cause severe structural damage, so reinforce your garage doors.
- Bring all unsecured outdoor furniture, decorations, or garbage cans inside.
- Install a generator for emergency power.
- If you live in a high-rise building, be sure there’s a place for you to evacuate to below the 10th floor.
- If you have a boat, determine where and how to secure it.
- Don’t forget to take care of your pets! They are just as scared as you are. Click here for a list of things to do to prepare your pets for a hurricane.
Hurricane Isaac is moving northward at only 6 miles an hour, making it very difficult to send in emergency crews to the affected areas of Louisiana. About 60,000 people in New Orleans are without power. The National Weather Service said the storm’s slow passage increased the risk of tornadoes and flash floods hundreds of miles inland from Louisiana and across Mississippi and Alabama to Florida.
Hopefully Hurricane Isaac takes no lives and very few homes. There have already been over two dozen lives lost in Haiti. But Milestone Building Group of Orange County is ready to get to Louisiana and help its citizens back in their homes as soon as possible! We’re there when you need us, even if you’re not local.