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NEW ORLEANS – After months of an eerily quiet season, a hurricane and a tropical storm are now in the Atlantic.
While neither of these storms are expected to impact the U.S., emergency officials say those in the Gulf South should still prepare for what could come later this season.
In New Orleans, the Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness is preparing to help families who can’t evacuate because of tighter budgets and inflation.
“One storm can change the entire dynamic of this hurricane season,” Director Collin Arnold said. “Finances should not be the reason to not prepare.”
Arnold said the city is working with community partners to collect supplies that can be handed out to residents for free in the event of a storm, but said families should also get what they can now.
“We know there is a bit of a burden with the economy right now, but people need to gather as many supplies as they can to try to be self-sustaining for about 72 hours,” Arnold said.
AAA also recommends putting aside at least $1,500 in case you need to evacuate.
“It’s just absolutely more expensive to evacuate this year than it was in previous years,” said AAA Louisiana Spokesperson Don Redman.
Take evacuating to Houston for example.
In 2021, a round trip from New Orleans to Houston cost about $85 in gas. Now it’s closer to $133.
Your hotel stay will be more expensive too. Last year, prices were near $265 a night. Today, you’d pay closer to $282.
“I think families really have to prepare for that,” Redman said. “Certainly a category 3 and above, my advice is to evacuate.”
With a slower start this season, families have even more time to prepare.
“We may only be to Earl or “E” right now, but it’s a little bit early to start waving victory flags,” Arnold said.
If this trend continues, this hurricane season will be the fourth-quietest year in the last century.