Texas Emergency Management ONLINE 2011 Vol. 58 No. 10


A new Water Education in Texas website has been launched to help educate consumers on ways to conserve water during Texas’ continuing drought. Texas AgriLife Extension has organized information into three categories: “Your Home,” “Lawn and Garden,” and “Agriculture and Wildlife.” The site is easy to navigate. Most of the information is in bullet statements with embedded words, so viewers can go to the expanded information with a single click.

Tornado deaths in 2011 have set a nationwide record of 549 fatalities, the highest in the past 50 years. But so far this has not reached the total set in 1925 – the single highest year for tornado fatalities in the U.S. In 1925, there were 794 tornado deaths – 695 of those due to a single March 18 tornado that rampaged across three Midwestern states: Missouri, Illinois and Indiana. There were 552 U.S. tornado fatalities in 1936; 551 fatalities in 1917; 540 fatalities in 1927; and 537 in 1896. Visit the National Weather Service Top Ten Tornadoes webpage for more information. There is a tie for the deadliest tornado to strike Texas. The Waco tornado of May 11, 1953 and the Goliad tornado of May 18, 1902 each killed 114 Texans. For more information on assistance for building tornado safe rooms, check out the Texas Individual Tornado Safe Room Rebate Program Fact Sheet (PDF) and the Texas Community Tornado Safe Room Fact Sheet (PDF)

Economic losses for natural disasters were soaring nationwide – even before the East Coast earthquake and Hurricane Irene. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) reported that 2011 has so far led to $35 billion in losses due to storms, tornadoes, flooding and heat waves. There have been nine major weather disasters so far this year, including the Joplin tornado. NOAA said the normal average is about three to four major weather disasters per year, causing at least $1 billion each.

The Federal Alliance for Safe Homes (FLASH) has three new hurricane preparedness videos available online. The videos have been added to the alliance’s Protect Your Home in a FLASH series of online resources to provide consumers with key information for safeguarding their homes. The three new videos include step-by-step instructions for projects, along with suggestions for proper supplies. They break the projects up into those that can be completed in one hour, one day or one weekend. View the new videos at http://www.flash.org/.

National Weather Service records only go back to 1895 and reveal 2011, 1953 and 1925 as the driest years since then. But the pattern of severe Texas dry spells goes much further back in time. Stephen F. Austin’s initial colonists lost their corn crop to drought in 1822. Missionaries and Indians abandoned a San Gabriel River settlement in 1756 due to lack of water. For a long view on Texas drought, visit the following:

Texas State Historical Association’s Drought page

As Texas Dries Out, Life Falters and Fades (New York Times, August 13, 2011)

Extended Chronology of Drought in the San Antonio Area (PDF)

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