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RTA Encourages Hurricane Preparedness During Seasonal Peak

September often brings to New Orleans cooler temperatures, breezes, and the feeling of autumn just around the corner. Yet, conditions are still favorable for tropical disturbances. Every year, hurricane season lasts from June 1 to November 30. Though the cooler, breezier weather might keep hurricanes out of mind, it is important to remember how quickly they can form and threaten the area.

Mid-August to mid-October is considered the peak of hurricane season. According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), 87 percent of minor hurricanes and 96 percent of major hurricanes form during these three months.

In 2009, the RTA began working with the City of New Orleans and groups such as NOLA Ready to prepare residents for hurricane threats and, potentially, a city-wide evacuation.

“These groups have come together to make sure evacuation plans are carried out in an efficient and effective manner,” Marc Popkin, Risk Management Counsel, said. Popkin works closely with the City of New Orleans in solidifying the City-Assisted Evacuation Plan (CAEP).

Throughout the city are 17 evacuation pick-up points. In the event of a city-wide evacuation, residents can wait at these points for the RTA to transport them to the Union Passenger Terminal (UPT). From there, evacuees are placed on buses and trains, and taken out of the city to safety.
Even if a city-wide evacuation is not called, such as with Tropical Storm Cindy in June and the remnants of Hurricane Harvey in August, Popkin urges residents of New Orleans to be prepared for any tropical weather event.

“Even if a tropical storm or hurricane doesn’t have New Orleans set in its sight doesn’t mean we won’t be impacted in some way,” Popkin reminded. “That’s why it is important to stay connected and informed as to where storms are headed, especially when they enter the Gulf of Mexico.”

In July, Popkin worked with RTA Vice-Chairwoman Earline Roth and ADA Compliance Officer Karen Wilson-Sider on a hurricane preparedness event for riders who may be elderly or disabled. Representatives from NOLA Ready, Evacuteer, and other organizations participated in instructing riders in everything from evacuation prep to sheltering in place.

Popkin reiterated the phrase heard throughout the event: “This hurricane season, get informed, get prepared, and get ready.” Even as November draws closer, it is important not to forget the threat that tropical weather can impose.

For information about the City-Assisted Evactuation Plan, visit the RTA’s Evacuation Plans page. Additionally, follow RTA on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, as well as NOLA Ready and Evacuteer, for updates in the event tropical weather threatens New Orleans.

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