Image description: Hurricane Isaac approaches the gulf coast of the United States at night.
President Obama has signed emergency declarations for Mississippi and Louisiana. If you, or someone you know is in the path of the storm, here is some useful safety information from the White House blog:
- Driving through a flooded area can be extremely hazardous. Almost half of all flash flood deaths happen in vehicles. When in your car, look out for flooding in low lying areas, at bridges, and at highway dips. As little as six inches of water may cause you to lose control of your vehicle. Remember – turn around, don’t drown.
- The National Weather Service is the official source for weather information and severe weather watches and warnings, so follow your forecast at http://www.weather.gov/ on your computer orhttp://mobile.weather.gov/ on your phone.
Rain and storm surge may make flooding possible. Here are the definitions of the types of advisories officials may issue:
- Flood Watch: Flooding is possible. Tune in to NOAA Weather Radio, commercial radio, or television for information.
- Flood Warning: Flooding is occurring or will occur soon; if local officials give notice to evacuate, do so immediately.
- Flash Flood Watch: Rapid rises on streams and rivers are possible. Be prepared to move to higher ground; listen to NOAA Weather Radio, commercial radio, or television for information.
- Flash Flood Warning: Rapid rises on streams and rivers are occurring; seek higher ground on foot immediately.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture is urging everyone to make food safety a part of their preparation efforts:
- Store food on shelves that will be safely out of the way of contaminated water in case of flooding.
- Group food together in the freezer — this helps the food stay cold longer.
- Have coolers on hand to keep refrigerator food cold if the power will be out for more than 4 hours.
Finally, if the high winds and rain from Isaac cause the power to go out, remember these tips:
- Keep refrigerator and freezer doors closed as much as possible.
- A refrigerator will keep food cold for about 4 hours if you keep the door closed.
- A full freezer will keep its temperature for about 48 hours (24 hours if half-full).
Image credit: NASA Earth Observatory.