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To Prepare For Hurricane Season 2021: Get Vaccinated

Forecasters are predicting another busy hurricane season -- and New Orleans mayor LaToya Cantrell is urging residents to start preparing ahead of the season’s official start date, June 1.

At a press conference Friday, Cantrell told people to make a plan and have a go-bag ready. But this year, Mayor Cantrell is calling for an extra step.“Get vaccinated,” she said. “There is absolutely no excuse not to be vaccinated.”

The city will provide buses for anyone who needs help leaving town if there’s a hurricane and will give out masks and enforce social distancing. About a third of Louisianans are vaccinated.

Health department director Jennifer Avegno said one way to lower the risk of transmission of COVID-19 during evacuation and sheltering is to get as many people vaccinated as possible vaccinated. Officials added that free vaccinations are being offered throughout the city.

The federal government has not yet issued its hurricane forecast for 2021, but Colorado State University hurricane researchers have said it will be an above-average season, forecasting 17 named storms, 8 hurricanes and 4 major hurricanes. If those predictions prove true, the season will be much like last year’s.

Deputy CAO Ramsey Green pointed to the record-breaking rain the region has seen this spring and said “things are changing,” referring to how climate change is changing weather patterns and bringing heavier rains and more intense hurricanes. “I think those things are telling us to be prepared at all times,” said Green.

When asked about the public feeling “fatigued” after an unprecedented year coping with a global pandemic and a record-breaking 2020 hurricane season, Cantrell said there was no time for residents to let their guard down. “We need the public to do their part,” she said. “We’re not fatigued. We respond. We have to abandon those thoughts.”

The city is updating its emergency alert system and urging people to sign up by texting NOLA READY to 77295 or visit The new system both provides emergency updates AND links personal information with 911 and first responders.

Support for the Coastal Desk comes from the Greater New Orleans Foundation, the Walton Family Foundation, and local listeners.

Tegan Wendland

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