NEW ORLEANS – It's been relatively quiet in the Atlantic basin so far this hurricane season, but that can quickly change.
Recently, the FOX Forecast Center tracked Danielle and Earl. While none of these storms threatened the U.S., emergency officials say those along the Gulf should still prepare for what could come later this season.
Residents in New Orleans might be breathing a sigh of relief right now, making it through three months of hurricane season without any storms, it’s too early to let your guard down. Emergency officials are preparing to help families who can’t evacuate because of tighter budgets and inflation.
"One storm can change the entire dynamic of this hurricane season," said Collin Arnold, director of New Orleans Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness. "Finances should not be the reason to not prepare."
In a hurricane season where more families are strapped for cash because of record high inflation, Arnold said storm supplies should not be what gets cut from your budget.
"We know there is a little of a burden with the economy and inflation right now, but people need to gather as many supplies as they can to try to be self-sustaining for about 72 hours or three days," he added.
But when you go to the store, you should expect some supplies to be more expensive.
Two large cases of water cost about $15. Nonperishable items like peanut butter and granola bars are about $6 a box. And a decent flashlight with a couple dozen extra batteries could cost you up to $30.
In April, Florida Senator Rick Scott sent a letter to FEMA Administrator Deanne Criswell ahead of the 2022 hurricane season, which began on June 1.
He was seeking answers on what the federal government was doing to ensure it has an adequate stockpile of supplies to support families who are unable to afford emergency supplies or may be displaced by hurricanes, and what it’s doing to prevent shortages of critical supplies in the aftermath of a disaster.
AAA recommends putting aside at least $1,500 in case you need to evacuate.
"It’s just absolutely more expensive to evacuate this year than it was in previous years," AAA Louisiana spokesman Don Redman said.
In 2021, a round trip from New Orleans to Houston cost about $85 in gas. Now, it’s closer to $133.
Your hotel stay will be more expensive too. Last year, prices were near $265 a night. Today, you would pay closer to $282.
"I think families really have to prepare for that," Redman said. "Certainly by Category 3 and above, my advice is to evacuate."
And with a slower start this season, families have even more time to prepare.
"We may only be to Earl right now, or to ‘E,’ but it’s a little bit early right now to start waving victory flags," Arnold said.
If this trend continues, this season will be the one of the quietest years in the last century.