Although we are well into Texas’ hurricane season, it isn’t over yet and it is always a great time to evaluate how prepared we are for an emergency. Houston averages a tropical storm or hurricane every three years. It has now been six years without one, so we definitely need to be ready.
Our two main worries during these storms are wind and flooding. Tropical storms can potentially be more devastating to us in Katy due to the potential for flooding we face. Buffalo Bayou will actually reverse directions in a hurricane and travel towards us instead of out into the ocean.
There are many simple steps we can take now to be sure we are prepared.
*Determine safe evacuation routes inland.
*Make emergency plans for pets.
*Check emergency equipment, such as flashlights, generators and battery-powered NOAA Weather Radio All Hazards and cell phones.
If you have useful hurricane equipment (generators, chain saws, etc) learn to use them properly now. Under the stress of a storm we may use less common sense.
*Buy food that will keep and store drinking water. Information on preparing 72-hour kits can be found HERE.
*Clear loose and clogged rain gutters and downspouts.
*Trim trees and shrubbery.
*Review your insurance policy…
Please know what your home owner’s policy covers with regards to water damage. The policies are very specific as to the cause of the water damage they cover. You can go onto the FEMA Map Service online to check your neighborhood for potential flood risk.
It is important for you and your family to determine if you need to upgrade your home owner’s insurance or choose to carry flood insurance. Insurance companies, as a rule, will not make changes on policies when there is a storm present in the Gulf. If you decide you would like flood insurance, there may be a 30 day waiting period from sign-up until coverage begins so it is important to think about these things now.
As a storm approaches it is very important to closely monitor radio, TV or NOAA Weather Radio All Hazards for official bulletins. If told to evacuate, do so immediately.
Other tips to secure your home:
*Store lawn furniture and other loose, light-weight objects, such as garbage cans and garden tools.
*Turn refrigerator to maximum cold and keep closed.
*Turn off propane tanks.
*Unplug small appliances.
*Fill bathtub and large containers with water in case tap
water is unavailable. Use water in bathtubs for cleaning
and flushing only. Do NOT drink it.
It’s also a good idea to have cash on hand in case power goes out and ATMs don’t work.
Here are some other resources to check out:
NOAA NWS National Hurricane Center on Facebook
American Red Cross
National Hurrican Center