Today, Gov. John Bel Edwards announced that the Governor’s Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness (GOHSEP) is monitoring the increasing tropical threat in the Gulf of Mexico. The National Hurricane Center indicates there is a significant chance that a low pressure system will develop once it reaches the northern gulf. As a result, the Crisis Action Team (CAT) has been activated and will constantly monitor and respond to any requests for support from our local partners. In addition, state agencies and parishes that might be impacted by the event are in contact with the National Weather Service (NWS).

“There are still a lot of questions about this growing threat, but we are encouraging everyone to stay informed and prepare accordingly” said Gov. Edwards. “Many people are making plans to enjoy the Memorial Day weekend, and until we know exactly where this system is going and how strong it will become, we must stay prepared. Stay tuned to the local forecasts and heed warnings from officials in your area. Hopefully, the rain totals will remain low and the rainfall will be spread out over several days. Already, we are working with local emergency response officials and stand ready to support their efforts should Louisiana wind up in this storm’s path.”

See a video message from Gov. Edwards here.

The possibility of development has increased steadily over the past several days. The potential for heavy rains and flooding continues to be the biggest concern with weather expects. Up to five inches of rain is possible for some portions of the state beginning this weekend through early next week.

“If you are traveling in areas inside the state or outside the state impacted by this system, carefully check your routes,” said GOHSEP Director Jim Waskom. “Should flooding become a factor, remember most problems occur when people attempt to drive through water covered roadways. Turn Around, Don’t Drown. Download the free ALERT FM App for local and state alerts, monitor your local media and keep your phones charged in order to receive alerts from the NWS and your local emergency managers. Also, check your emergency supplies to make sure you’re ready.”

The weekend is also the Louisiana Tax Discount Weekend for Hurricane Supplies. Here is information from the Louisiana Department of Revenue:

Louisiana residents can buy flashlights, batteries, portable generators and other hurricane supplies with a discount on the state sales tax Saturday, May 26 and Sunday, May 27. During these two days, eligible purchases are subject to only three percent state sales tax instead of the full five percent.

The Louisiana Hurricane Preparedness Sales Tax Holiday takes place on the last consecutive Saturday and Sunday each May, before the June 1 start of the Atlantic hurricane season. It applies to the first $1,500 of the purchase price of each of the following items:

Any portable self-powered light source, including candles, flashlights and other articles of property designed to provide light;

Any portable self-powered radio, two-way radio, or weather band radio;

Any tarpaulin or other flexible waterproof sheeting;

Any ground anchor system or tie-down kit;

Any gas or diesel fuel tank;

Any package of AAA-cell, AA-cell, C-cell, D-cell, 6 volt, or 9-volt batteries, excluding automobile and boat batteries;

Any cell phone battery and any cell phone charger;

Any nonelectric food storage cooler;

Any portable generator used to provide light or communications or preserve food in the event of a power outage;

Any storm shutter device;

Any carbon monoxide detector; and

Any reusable freezer pack such as "blue ice."

The exemption applies to the state sales tax only. The full amount of any local sales tax is in effect unless the local taxing authority creates its own exemption.

The state sales tax exemption does not apply to items sold by vendors located at any airport, public lodging establishment or hotel, entertainment complex or convenience store.

Check the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development’s www.511la.org before you travel if your region is impacted by the storms.

Find more tips on weather and preparedness on GOHSEP’s Facebook and Twitter accounts. Listen to conversations on all aspects of emergency management by downloading GOHSEP’s The Get A Game Plan Podcast. You can receive emergency alerts on most smartphones and tablets by downloading the new Alert FM App. It is free for basic service. The Get A Game Plan App is another resource available to help you and your family prepare for any type of emergency. You can download the Louisiana Emergency Preparedness Guide and find other information at www.getagameplan.org.