AUSTIN – With the hurricane season less than one month away, the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) urges all Texans to use Hurricane Preparedness Week to learn how to protect themselves and their families from hurricanes and tropical storms. Hurricane season starts June 1 and continues through Nov. 30.
“Hurricane season is unpredictable, and as we saw last year with Hurricane Harvey, these powerful storms can cause dangerous conditions and leave behind major devastation,” said Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, who proclaimed this week as Hurricane Preparedness Week in Texas. “By preparing ahead of time, we can help ensure our state is ready when natural disasters strike. I encourage all of my fellow Texans to plan now in advance of hurricane season, and to closely monitor any weather warnings and evacuation orders in the coming months.”
All Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico coastal areas are subject to hurricanes and tropical storms. It is possible for a storm to severely impact our state, even prior to or without making direct landfall in Texas. Hurricanes can cause catastrophic damage to coastlines, and winds can vary from 74 to 157 miles per hour (or higher). In addition, hurricanes and tropical storms can also spawn tornadoes, create dangerous coastal water conditions, including storm surges, and cause extensive flooding damage. Also, the rainfall associated with a tropical system can have an extremely wide reach, so monitoring changing weather conditions during hurricane season is critically important for all Texans.
“As Texans know all too well, the damage caused by a hurricane can be catastrophic, and the impact these storms have on our lives does not go away when the storm warning expires,” said DPS Director Steven McCraw. “Our neighbors along the coast are still recovering from Hurricane Harvey. Hurricane Preparedness Week offers an important reminder for everyone to be diligent, and by taking a few simple steps — like developing a hurricane plan and assembling an emergency disaster kit — we can ensure we are ready when a storm hits. It can mean the difference between life and death.”
Here are several measures residents can take now to prepare for potential storms:
- Assemble an emergency kit that includes essential documents, supplies and provisions.
- Review hurricane evacuation maps, and select a route for you and your family.
- Plan how all family members and pets will evacuate safely.
- Consider any special needs for individuals with disabilities or the elderly.
- Stay informed about changing weather conditions in and around your area.
- Follow the instructions of local officials if a storm develops.
Residents are also encouraged to review their property’s flood risk and current insurance coverage, and to consider whether a separate flood policy should be part of their home protection plan. (Remember most flood policies have a 30-day waiting period before taking effect.) For more information, visit the Texas Department of Insurance website.
If you or someone you know might need assistance during a disaster, register now with the State of Texas Emergency Assistance Registry (STEAR) — a free registry that provides local emergency planners and responders with additional information about the needs in their communities. To register, contact 2-1-1 Texas, the state’s free 24-hour helpline. No matter where you live in Texas, you can dial 2-1-1 or 877-541-7905 for community resources.
You can also find out more about hurricane preparedness at the National Weather Service website.