Louisiana is categorized as having a humid subtropical climate: damp and hot. Because the Gulf of Mexico moderates the extremes in the southern part of the state, northern Louisiana is both hotter in summer and cooler in winter than along the coast. Hot summers range from 72 to 93 degrees, with winters ranging between 36-degree lows to 57-degree highs. May is usually the wettest month, with 5 or more inches of rain; August is driest, with less than 3 inches on average. High humidity makes 90-degree temperatures difficult to tolerate in comfort, so modern air conditioning is a blessing all around, especially for anyone just moving to the region.
Every second counts in a disaster so planning and preparation can be lifesavers.
The Louisiana Governor’s Office of Homeland Security & Emergency Preparedness leads and supports the state and its citizens in preparation for, response to and recovery from all emergencies and disasters. The organization’s website gives families, businesses and public safety professionals valuable information and resources regarding various emergency scenarios. The website provides information on creating an emergency plan and emergency kit, pet preparedness and evacuation. For more information about disaster preparedness, visit http://gohsep.la.gov.
Shreveport-Bossier can experience big storms any time of year. Tornadoes are more likely in spring, severe thunderstorms occur all summer, and stormy, wet fallout from hurricanes and tropical storms is likely in summer and fall.
The following are considered significant hazards in Louisiana.
Hurricanes and severe sea storms often batter the Louisiana coast, creating massive destruction. Shreveport-Bossier is far enough north and inland that the high winds and waves don’t reach it directly. However, when such huge sea storms lash southern Louisiana, the northern part of the state can receive torrential rains and daunting storm conditions. With extra-heavy rains, consider flash floods and prepare accordingly. Stay alert; keep track of conditions; have a family plan everyone knows; stock emergency food, water and equipment; have a high-ground place to go; and evacuate if officials tell you to do so.
Some exposure to sunlight is good, even healthy, but too much can be dangerous. Broad-spectrum ultraviolet (UV) radiation, listed as a known carcinogen by the National Institute of Environmental Health Science, can cause blistering sunburns, as well as long-term problems like skin cancer, cataracts and immune suppression. Overexposure also causes wrinkling and premature aging of the skin.
Cloud cover reduces UV levels, but not completely. Depending on the thickness of the cloud cover, you can still burn on a cold and dim day, so be prepared with sunglasses, sunscreen, long-sleeved garments, wide-brimmed hats and a parasol.
While more likely at certain times of year, thunderstorms can happen anytime. A severe thunderstorm can knock out power, bring high winds, lightning, flash floods and hail, and turn into a twister in seconds. Pay attention to storm warnings. Remember the rule: “When thunder roars, head indoors.” Once inside, avoid electrical appliances and plumbing fixtures, and use only a cordless telephone in an emergency. Unplug your desktop computer. Do the same with other plugged-in electronics or use surge protectors. The National Weather Service recommends following the 30/30 Rule: People should seek shelter if the “Flash-to-Bang” delay — length of time in seconds from the sight of the lightning flash to the arrival of its subsequent thunder — is 30 seconds or less, and remain under cover for 30 minutes after the final thunderclap.
For more safety information, visit the National Weather Service’s website at www.lightningsafety.noaa.gov.
Shreveport-Bossier City is on the edge of Tornado Alley, the track of tornado activity from the Gulf of Mexico north through the Great Plains. Because tornadoes often accompany thunderstorms, pay close attention to changing weather conditions when there is a severe thunderstorm watch or warning.
Tornadoes can develop quickly, with minimal warning, so it is important to have a plan in place before they occur. If a tornado watch is issued, weather conditions favor the formation of tornadoes, such as during a severe thunderstorm. A tornado warning is issued when a tornado funnel is sighted or indicated by weather radar. You should take shelter immediately during a tornado warning.
Know where the safest place of shelter is in your home — a basement, or an inside room on the lowest floor (like a closet or bathroom) if your home does not have a basement. Avoid windows and get under something sturdy, like a heavy table, and cover your body with a blanket or mattress to protect yourself from flying debris.
For more information on tornado preparedness, visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website at www.cdc.gov or visit http://emergency.cdc.gov/disasters/tornadoes/prepared.asp for information on how to develop an emergency plan.