SWLA agencies expect 9-15 named storms for 2012 hurricane season

With hurricane season already underway, local agencies want residents to get prepared the right way. That's why at Monday's hurricane forum experts talked about the common hurricane myths.

Taping your windows prevents damage. Tying down your mobile home makes it hurricane proof. We're not due for another big one. All myths the experts say need to be dispelled.

"Our being prepared is part of living on the Gulf Coast," said Tim Osborn with NOAA.

Officials say if you're not already prepared, you're behind schedule.

When preparing, there are several myths that officials want to dispel like the idea that taping or opening your windows can prevent damage. Always board them up.

Emergency officials also tell residents always listen to evacuation orders.

"If there is an evacuation order, be prepared to leave early, that way you're not caught in traffic," said Jefferson Davis Sheriff-Elect Ivy Woods.

Your mobile home is not safe just because it's tied down. And don't wait until the weather gets bad to leave, it may be too late. If you plan to stay behind, be prepared.

"If it's going to be a tropical depression and you want to stay home, be prepared with batteries, with a radio that can function with batteries, flashlights, and plan to stay within the house," said Woods. "Get out and get the groceries that you'll need."

The number one killer in hurricanes is not the storm surge, it's flooding from rainfall. But the storm surge doesn't only affect coastal areas either.

And another myth: the "big one" only comes ever 50 years. Experts remind us that Lily came in 2002, Rita came in 2005 and Ike came in 2008, each only three years apart. Another problem occurs when residents think a strong hurricane will wipe out their home no matter what. Osborn says that's not the mindset to have.

"The only thing that you got to add is your own participation in this," said Osborn. "Don't be afraid, be prepared."

While tropical storm Debby is no longer a threat here in southwest Louisiana, there is still a lot of time left in the 2012 hurricane season.

Andy Patrick from the National Weather Service gave a presentation regarding this season's projections. He said they planned for a season not as active as last year's, but this is the earliest in the season four storms have even been named. Their predictions say there will be 9-15 named storms this year, but Patrick said it will most likely fall on the higher end.

Parish officials suggest residents remain prepared, because if a storm forms quickly, there may not be much time.

Copyright 2012 KPLC. All rights reserved.