In this week’s column I would like to remind everyone of the importance of being prepared for the upcoming storm and hurricane season. When storms and hurricanes make landfall, they can affect the lives of thousands of Texans along the coast and across the state. As storm and hurricane season continues, being prepared, being aware of hazards, and having a plan for evacuation can be lifesaving.
The 2022 Atlantic hurricane season began on June 1 and will conclude on Nov. 30. I am revisiting this topic because the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has predicted, due to multiple climate factors, that this hurricane season will most likely have an above-normal activity. According to the NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center, the outlook predicts a 65 percent chance of an above-normal Season. The center is forecasting between 14 to 21 named storms, with about 6 to 10 hurricanes, including 3 to 6 major hurricanes.
During hurricane season, tropical cyclones are more likely to form. Tropical cyclones are a rotating organized system of clouds and thunderstorms that originate over tropical or subtropical waters, have a closed low-level circulation, and rotate counterclockwise. Not all tropical cyclones produce hurricanes. NOAA defines a tropical cyclone with maximum sustained winds of 38mph or less as tropical depressions. A tropical storm is a tropical cyclone with maximum sustained winds of 39-73mph. Hurricanes are a tropical cyclone with wind speeds of 74 mph or higher and a major hurricane has a maximum sustained wind speed of 111 mph or more.
The best time to prepare is before hurricane season gets active. It is important to understand your home’s vulnerability to storm surge, flooding, and wind. You should also review your insurance policies to ensure that you have adequate coverage for your home and property. Furthermore, it is also important to put together an emergency kit and prepare a family emergency plan, discussing how and where you plan to evacuate is essential, as well. The Texas Department of State Health Services recommends all coastal residents to have these items in their evacuation kits:
• First-aid kit, prescription medications, eyeglasses, copies of prescriptions, other special medical items, hearing aids and batteries
• Important documents and records, photo IDs, proof of residence, information to process insurance claims
• Credit cards and cash (if power is out, banks and ATMs may not be available)
• Battery-operated radio, NOAA Weather Radio and extra batteries
• Phone numbers of family, friends and other important phone numbers
• Road maps
• Three-day supply of non-perishable food, one gallon of bottled water per person per day, coolers for food and ice storage, paper plates, utensils
• Manual can opener, knife, tools, booster cables, fire extinguisher, duct tape, tarp, rope and flashlight with extra batteries
• Extra keys
• Blankets, pillows, sleeping bags for each person, extra clothing, toys for children
• Supplies for babies, the elderly and family members with special health care needs
• Toilet paper, cleanup supplies, personal hygiene products
• Leash, food, cleaning supplies and veterinary records for pets
If a hurricane is approaching, the best/safest thing to do is. To find the best evacuation route please visit www.txdot. gov/inside-txdot/division/traffic/ safety/weather/hurricane.html.
It is advised to prepare an evacuation checklist and kit ahead of time.
The physical damage from hurricanes can be devastating. There are ways to mitigate damage from the strong winds and rain. Simple fixes include trimming or removing damaged trees and limbs from your yard, as well as, have the proper materials in advance to board windows to protect them. Also, you can bring loose outdoor items inside, and secure all doors on your property, including the garage door, which is usually the most vulnerable. Also, move your car inside a garage or to another secure location.
For more information on how and what to prepare for hurricane season, please visit the www.redcross.org/ get-help/how-to-prepare-foremergencies/ types-of-emergencies/ hurricane.html.
You can also visit https:// www.ready.gov/hurricanes.
If you have questions regarding any of the information mentioned in this week’s column, please do not hesitate to call my Capitol or District Office.
Please always feel free to contact my office if you have any questions or issues regarding a Texas state agency, or if you would like to contact my office regarding constituent services.
As always, my offices are available at any time to assist with questions, concerns, or comments.