Weird weather prompts preparedness warning

Emergency officials say why public should prepare for worst case scenarios
(Source: WAFB)
(Source: WAFB)

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - Severe weather is a near constant companion for residents in the southern region. Just in recent days, southern states have been pounded by ice and snow, tornadoes and flooding. In the Capital City, temperatures changed from spring to winter overnight.

With such extremes presenting, officials with the Governor's Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness (GOHSEP) are reminding families that severe weather is always possible.

For example, NOAA released a storm surge inundation map in 2014 that showed a surprising potential for flooding during storms, include feet of water reaching as far north as Baton Rouge. The map compiles data from thousands of storms to create a hypothetical monster system, the absolute worst-case scenario.

"We haven't seen a storm like that. My hopes and prayer is we never do, but it's our job to make sure we're planning for those," said GOHSEP Director Kevin Davis.

While the chances of seeing surge flooding all the way in East Baton Rouge Parish are extremely low, GOHSEP uses these models and others to plan ahead.  Even recent storms have shown how flooding or unexpected hazards can easily pop up.

"We are seeing, as we saw in Isaac, flooding in areas that had never happened before," said Davis.

Whether it's tornadoes, freezing temperatures or slow moving thunderstorms experts say each event brings unique dangers. However, preparing for each storm is surprising similar. ??

No matter the storm, officials say it's important to get a game plan. Have an emergency kit on hand that includes things like weather radio, flashlight and extra batteries. Also, listen to emergency officials for instructions or direction.

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