Prepare to evacuate if advised to do so by the governor or elected officials through radio or television announcements. Plan to evacuate as early as possible before hurricane
gale-force winds and storm surges force road closings. Leaving early may also help you to avoid massive traffic jams encountered during late evacuation efforts. Listen to
the radio and/or television for evacuation and sheltering information.
Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale
The Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale is a 1 to 5 rating based on a hurricane's sustained wind speed. This scale estimates potential property damage.
Hurricanes reaching Category 3 and higher are considered major hurricanes because of their potential for significant loss of life and damage.
Category 1 and 2 storms are still dangerous, however, and require preventative measures.
Hurricane Intensity Scale (Wind and Storm Surge Damage)
Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale. Click on image for a larger view.
The storm surge is water that is pushed onto shore by a hurricane. It is rarely a “wall of water” as often claimed, but rather a rise of water that can be as rapid as
several feet in just a few minutes. The storm surge moves with the forward speed of the hurricane— typically 10-15 mph. This wind-driven water moving at 10-15 mph
has tremendous power. A cubic yard of sea water weighs 1,728 pounds — almost a ton. A one-foot deep storm surge can sweep your car off the road, and as little as a
six-inch surge can sweep you off your feet. The storm surge can begin to rise a day before the storm hits, cutting off escape routes when low-lying highways are
flooded. The storm surge depends greatly upon the size and intensity of a hurricane, the angle at which it approaches the shore, how fast the hurricane is moving, coastal
features such as bays and estuaries, and the width and slope of the continental shelf. A shallow slope will potentially produce a greater storm surge than a steep shelf.
Louisiana’s Coastline has a very wide and shallow continental shelf.