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As hurricane season approaches, be sure to stay safe and keep alert

This column was written by Washington Parish President Richard “Ned” Thomas.

The National Hurricane Center is predicting a 60-percent chance of an “above normal” hurricane season.

The outlook calls for 13-19 named storms, and six to 10 hurricanes — with three to six of those qualifying as major hurricanes. The official start of the hurricane season is June 1, and the first two names have already been marked off the storm name list.

Remember, no mater the forecast, it only takes one storm to hit our area, to make it a bad year. While wind makes the headlines, nearly 90 percent of all deaths associated with hurricanes are from water from surge and inland flooding. If you see water across the road, please “turn around, don’t drown.”

As with every hurricane season, the need to be prepared is critical. Therefore, I urge all citizens to start now with a seven-day disaster kit that should include, at a minimum:

  • Water.
  • Non-perishable food.
  • Baby items.
  • Personal hygiene items.
  • First aid kit.
  • Flashlight with extra set of batteries.
  • Can opener.
  • Fuel for generator (if applicable).

A more complete list can be found online at www.getagameplan.org.

As we move toward to the next phase of reopening, keep in mind that you may need to adjust any preparedness actions, based on the latest health and safety guidelines from the CDC.

Shelters may have reduced capacities, due to social distancing restrictions that may be in place.

I urge everyone to remain vigilant and stay tuned to local media.