Severe storms checklist: How to prepare for Hurricane Ida and the 2021 hurricane season

Molly Weisner
Lafayette Daily Advertiser

With Hurricane Ida threatening to strengthen into a major hurricane over the next few days, you may be wondering how you can prepare.

Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards issued an emergency declaration on Friday advising Louisiana residents to be vigilant and finalize plans:

“Unfortunately, all of Louisiana’s coastline is currently in the forecast cone for Tropical Storm Ida, which is strengthening and could come ashore in Louisiana as a major hurricane as Gulf conditions are conducive for rapid intensification," Edwards said in a statement. "Now is the time for people to finalize their emergency game plan, which should take into account the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

Forecasters with the National Hurricane Center expect the system to enter the southeastern Gulf this weekend, where conditions are favorable for strengthening. 

Here's what you need to know to stay safe, as well as resources to stay infor.

More tips:Be sustainably prepared this hurricane season

Hurricane, storm preparedness checklist:

  • Water: At least a 3-day supply of one gallon per person per day
  • Food: At least a 3-day supply of non-perishable, easy-to-prepare food. Consider foods that are easy to make without the use of electricity if the power goes out (microwaves, ovens, toasters, etc.)
  • Flashlights, lanterns
  • Multitool
  • Whistles
  • Matches, lighter
  • Batteries: Several types
  • Medications: At least a 7-day supply and medical items (hearing aids with extra batteries, glasses, contact lenses, syringes, cane, etc.)
  • Emergency communication: Make sure you have everything you’ll need (power banks, charging cords, etc.) to get in touch with loved ones either through cellular phones or email.
  • Personal documents: Place any important documents in a waterproof container or sealable bag to help keep them dry and easily accessible. Make copies and store them password-secured digitally.
  • Hygiene/personal sanitation: Especially with the rising spread of the delta variant of COVID-19, consider masks, hand sanitizer and/or wipes along with regular care items.
  • Protective gear: Though it's summer, plan to have warm blankets, gloves, shoes and jackets on hand.

*Prepare a 'go bag' that has everything you need in the event that you and your family are advised to evacuate. 

How to protect your home:

  • Reinforce or strengthen doors, windows, walls and roofs. 
  • Bring loose, lightweight objects (e.g., patio furniture, garbage cans, and bicycles) inside; anchor objects that would be unsafe to bring inside (e.g., gas grills and propane tanks); and trim or remove trees close enough to fall on buildings.
  • De-clutter drains and gutters.

If you need to evacuate, here's what you should know: Routes, shelters

If authorities advise or order you to evacuate, grab your “go bag” and leave immediately. If you are not in a mandatory evacuation zone, you may still decide to leave the area, you may need to move to higher ground or you may choose to stay in your home.

Check with the Department of Transportation or Office of Emergency Management website to find evacuation routes near you.

To find a shelter near you, check the FEMA mobile app:

Note that your shelter location may be different this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Make sure your pet(s) wears collars and tags with up-to-date contact information and other identification. Many disaster evacuation centers do not accept pets and other animals, so identify shelters or out-of-town friends or relatives where your pets can stay.

Know the difference: Hurricane watch vs. hurricane warning

Hurricane Watch: Hurricane conditions are a threat within 48 hours. Review your hurricane plans, keep informed and be ready to act if a warning is issued, the Red Cross advises.

Hurricane Warning: Hurricane conditions are expected within 36 hours. Complete your storm preparations and leave the area if directed to do so by authorities.

More tips:Hurricane season is upon us during a pandemic. Here's what you need to protect yourself.

Tech tips:Help with hurricanes, California wildfires and other natural disasters

When did Katrina hit? What about Hurricane Laura in New Orleans? Timeline:

Charting disaster:From Dennis to Matthew: All the hurricanes that hit the U.S. since 2005

Stay informed:

Information contributed from FEMA, American Red Cross and

Molly Weisner is a digital producer for the USA Today network. Find her on Twitter @molly_weisner.