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Texas Emergency Management ONLINE 2019 Vol. 66 No. 5

National Hurricane Preparedness

Using past seasonal storm activity as an indicator for potential future activity serves to not only remind us about the catastrophic effects of severe weather but also, and more importantly, it serves as a warning to maintain preparedness levels, especially during critical times of the year when severe storm activity is most prevalent. Coupled with the modern-day technology that allows for increasingly accurate weather projections, historical data helps us plan for and mitigate the effects of future severe weather events before they occur by calling us to change our behavior. While the devastation of Hurricane Harvey is still very fresh in the minds of Texans that were directly impacted (many of whom are still recovering), more recent storms that caused flooding in parts of the Dallas/Fort Worth area claimed the lives of three family members whose car was caught in rushing floodwaters. This same weather pattern produced an EF2 tornado near San Augustine and another in Bryan. Both resulted in significant injuries and considerable damage in the affected areas.

Cat 5 Hurricane

Cat 5 Hurricane photo courtesy of The Houston Chronicle

The annals of severe weather reporting throughout the state of Texas are replete with case after case of tragic instances where our fellow citizens were caught off guard during what oftentimes may have been escapable emergency situations. Whether contributing factors such as the inability to receive emergency alerts or failure to heed severe weather watches or warnings; or due to simply being unprepared, it is always preferable to deal with weather-related phenomenon with a plan rather than to be caught off guard. Toward that end, the National Weather Service has declared May 5 – 11, 2019 as Hurricane Preparedness Week. National Hurricane Preparedness Week is a nationwide effort to inform the public about hurricane hazards and to disseminate knowledge which can be used to prepare and take action. Additionally, Governor Abbott has followed suit by proclaiming Hurricane Preparedness Week throughout Texas. These and similar proclamations are intended to focus our attention on the seriousness of preparing for the inevitable, and potentially deadly severe weather patterns that often affect our state during this time of year, particularly in and around coastal areas.

While hurricanes and other severe weather events can be deadly, there are protective steps that should be taken before, during and afterwards to help mitigate their effects. The following sites offer valuable preparedness information and guidance that when adhered to, can make a consequential difference in the ability to endure, and recover from a severe weather event.

National Weather Service, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

Texas Division of Emergency Management; Hurricane Preparedness

Ready.gov; Hurricanes

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