As Hurricane Sally approaches, tips to keep in mind if you’re evacuating

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Follow recommended evacuation routes and don’t take shortcuts, authorities say.

Hurricane Sally — one of five tropical storms simultaneously moving through the Atlantic Ocean — has strengthened into a Category 2 storm and is expected to strike the Gulf Coast Tuesday.

President Donald Trump approved emergency declarations for Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama on Monday, and hurricane warnings have been issued across eastern Louisiana and the Florida Panhandle. New Orleans, Biloxi, and Mobile are included in these warnings.

Sally is expected to move slowly through the states Wednesday with heavy rain and flash floods.

For those evacuating, here are some tips to keep in mind, according to the Department of Homeland Security:

• Identify several places you could go, like a friend’s home or a motel. Pick places in different directions so you have options.

• The FEMA app has a list of open shelters.

• Unplug electronics like TVs and small appliances before you leave.

• Take an emergency kit with you that includes water, food, a flashlight, a first aid kit, extra batteries and important family documents.

If you have pets, remember that most public shelters allow only service animals.

• Follow recommended evacuation routes and don’t take shortcuts.

• Come up with a family re-unification plan in case you are separated.

• Stay in contact with local officials.

Editor’s note: This story was originally published in 2018 and has been updated with the most recent information.