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Texas Emergency Management ONLINE 2015 Vol. 62 No. 12

Message From The Chief

hidden-pines

This year Yogi Berra died. Although he was a Hall of Fame New York Yankee legend, most people nowadays probably remember him more for his quirky sayings rather than for his baseball legacy. Looking back over the past year, two of Berra’s best and most famous adages come to mind.

It’s déjà vu all over again
After suffering for years under devastating drought, vast areas of Texas were inundated with historic levels of flash flooding this past May and June, leaving a broad path of destruction from the Panhandle to the Gulf Coast. When the last of the flood waters receded, 113 counties had been included in the state and federal disaster declarations. For a short time, the entire state of Texas was actually considered drought free. But it didn’t last long.

After Memorial Day weekend, dryness and drought set in again and lingered through the entire summer months for many areas. The dryness created perfect conditions for wildfires, including a 4,500 acre fire that broke out in Bastrop County. Like many around the state, folks there were still rebuilding from the unprecedented 2011 wildfire season.

How do you end a flash drought? How about a weekend of record rainfall and flash floods in areas still reeling from the Memorial Day flood event. In Bastrop County, evacuees from the Hidden Pines wildfire returned to assess fire damage only to begin bracing for possible flooding.

Hidden Pines

It ain’t over till it’s over
Texas is a great place to live, but living here does come with some risk. As long as people have been writing about Texas, they’ve been writing about hurricanes, tornadoes, drought, floods and more. That’s unlikely to change. As Texans, we can never afford to be unprepared or complacent. Whether its drought or wildfire, ice and snow or severe weather and flooding, we must remain ready and vigilant.

During this holiday season, please keep the families and friends of those who have been affected by disasters in your thoughts and prayers. Remember that severe weather can happen anywhere in this state—even recurrently—and no one is immune to the devastation that natural or man-made disasters can bring. Take the time now to make your safety plan, stock your emergency kits, and talk to your family about what to do during an emergency.

Finally, Texas has not had a fatality-free day on Texas roads since November 7, 2000. Since that day, more than 51,800 people have been killed, and alcohol and distracted driving continue to be significant causes of highway deaths. Starting today: Buckle up. Slow down. Pay attention. Never drink and drive.

#EndTheStreakTX


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