A road sign indicating a hurricane warning in effect

With Tropical Storm Barry impacting the Gulf Coast states, now is a good time for people in the region to make sure they're prepared for the worst. This storm also serves as a reminder for everyone to check their readiness for a weather emergency

Hurricane, tropical storm, and storm-surge watches have been issued for the northern Gulf Coast, and a state of emergency has been declared in Louisiana. Heavy rains, flooding, and hurricane-like conditions are expected in the coming days.

What to do? Consumer Reports offers a comprehensive guide on how to prepare for approaching storms. And we will update this article as this storm grows in intensity over the next few days.

Here's a rundown of what to do now.

How to Prepare

Get your home ready for evacuating. Mandatory evacuations have already been ordered for parts of Louisiana, according to Weather.com, and more are likely as the storm approaches. Know what to do to your home before you leave? (Read more about preparing your home before evacuating ahead of a storm.)

Have a "go bag" ready. In addition to preparing your home, you should have a bag of essential items to take with you. Wondering what to put in it? Read more about what to include in a go bag.

more on storm prep

Prepare electronic devices. Having your phone fully charged is only one step in preparing for an emergency. Here are 12 things you need to do with your electronics

Don't forget your pets. It's always a good idea to take your pets with you when you evacuate. But how do you prepare for that? Here's how to make a disaster plan.

Be prepared for a power outage. If you don't have to evacuate and the power goes out, what do you do? We provide helpful tips on how to survive

What about a generator? Hurricanes cause more power outages in the U.S. than any other type of weather. If you have a generator, here's how to use it safely during a storm. And if you're in a hurry, here's how to get your generator up and running quickly.

Which generators are best? If you still have time to buy a generator (and they're not already sold out), here's our guide to buying the best one for your home.

Handling a medical emergency. If someone in your family gets sick or hurt during a storm, what do you do? Here's what you need to know.

Car safety during floods. Flooded roads are often more dangerous to drive on than they appear. Here's what to do when you encounter one.

Longer-Term Planning

Even if you're not immediately threatened by a storm or emergency, it's always good to be prepared. Here are some things you can do for the long term.

Update your homeowners insurance. When disaster strikes, you can save a lot of time, aggravation, and money by having a good insurance policy. How do you know which insurer is best or whether you're covered enough? Check out the best homeowners insurance companies in Consumer Reports' latest ratings.

Protection against flooding. Think you don't need flood insurance? You don't want to wait until disaster strikes to find out. Here's what you need to know about flood insurance

Have an emergency fund. Four in 10 American adults don't have enough savings to cover a $400 emergency expense, according to a recent Federal Reserve survey. Now is the best time to get started on making sure your emergency fund is big enough.