2013 Hurricane Season Preparedness
Hurricane season is fast approaching, with only six weeks left until June 1st, the official commencement. The season ends on November 30, with the peak of the season falling between mid-August and late October.
Experts say that this year's hurricane season could be a bumpy ride, with Colorado State University predicting four major hurricanes, nine hurricanes, and eighteen named storms. A major hurricane is any storm that is in Categories 3-5, with 5 being the worst.
Predictions are that 2013 will see an above average hurricane season, so it is essential that Texans, particularly along the coast, have an evacuation plan and be prepared. With a little luck though, a more active hurricane season could be this year could be just what Texas needs. If we can avoid a large event and simply get a healthy rain season, Texas could see some reinvigoration to its drought-struck lakes, streams, and reservoirs.
While looking for a turn in one of the Lone Star State's worst droughts, it is important to maintain a high level of hurricane preparedness and awareness. History teaches us that a lack of common hurricane knowledge can leave one vulnerable to the effects of a hurricane disaster.
Hurricane hazards come in many forms, including inland flooding, rip currents, storm surge, heavy rainfall, high winds, and tornadoes. "It is essential that families be prepared for the potential of a major storm," said Senator Glenn Hegar. "National Hurricane Preparedness Week 2013 runs from May 26 through June 1st-- a perfect time for all of us to formulate a plan so we are organized and ready in case evacuation becomes necessary."
There are four highlights on how to prepare and take action for hurricane season. The acronym to help remember these highlights is G.P.R.R.: Gather Information, Plan & Take Action, Recover, Resources. When it comes to gathering information, know if you live in an evacuation area, assess the risks of your home's vulnerability to wind, flooding, and storm surge, pay attention to the National Weather Service's issuance of watches and warnings, and keep a list of contact information for reference.
To plan & take action, put together a basic disaster supplies kit, develop and document plans for your specific risks, and follow guidelines to guard your community's health and protect the environment during and after the storm. If evacuating, review FEMA Evacuation Guidelines to allow for enough time to pack and inform friends and family if you need to leave your home. If waiting out a storm, be alert for tornadoes and the calm "eye" of the storm, which may be deceiving and is followed by stronger winds.
When it is time to recover, wait until the area is declared safe before returning home and remember that recovering from a disaster is a gradual process. Be aware of your resources at all times, including FEMA, National Weather Service Weather Safety, American Red Cross, and more. There are many online resources available that provide hazard, vulnerability, and risk assessment tools.
Senator Hegar concluded, "Safety is always a number one priority. As hurricane season inches closer, make sure that you and your family are prepared, and hopefully Texas will receive the much needed rain we've all been waiting for without the associated wind and storm damage these weather events can bring."
Senator Hegar served two terms in the Texas House of Representatives and now represents Senate District 18 in the Texas Senate. Senate District 18 contains over one-third of the Texas coastline. He is a sixth generation Texan, and earns a living farming on land that has been in his family since the mid-1800s. He currently resides in Katy, Texas with his wife Dara, and their three children, Claire, Julia, and Jonah.