(Houston, TX) – As you make travel plans this summer, the Harris County Office of Homeland Security & Emergency Management (HCOHSEM) reminds residents that hurricane season is underway. It can be difficult to navigate travel during hurricane season due to the unique set of potential challenges you may face. However, proper awareness and preparation can help your vacation stay on track.
Keep the potential weather of your destination in mind when planning a trip. Locations along the Gulf Coast, the Atlantic and the Caribbean are the most vulnerable to tropical weather from June to November. Monitor the weather near your destination, and if necessary, it is always better to cancel or postpone a trip than be caught in a hurricane. Safety is the priority.
Travel insurance can minimize potential financial losses if unexpected weather inhibits your travel plans. Make sure your insurance covers trip interruption and trip cancellation. It is also important to have medical coverage either through your health care plan or through additional travel insurance.
Be proactive in your preparation if you are traveling to a coastal area or places threatened by hurricanes. U.S. nationals can subscribe to STEP (Smart Traveler Enrollment Program) which will get you in touch with the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate to make them aware of your presence in the area. More information can be found at step.state.gov/step.
If a tropical storm or hurricane develops while you are on vacation and you are unable to leave, it is important that you are prepared. Having an emergency plan will keep you safe and calm during the storm. Hotels should be able to provide the resources and information you need during an emergency. If you are on the road, it is important to keep an emergency kit with any supplies you will need. Keep food, water, medication, and copies of important documents in your kit.
You can monitor tropical weather conditions at the National Hurricane Center. For the local forecast, go to National Weather Service Houston-Galveston. To sign up for emergency alerts, visit www.readyharris.org. You can also follow HCOHSEM on Twitter and Facebook.