AUSTIN – With Saturday marking the start of the 2019 hurricane season, the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) is urging all Texans to take steps now to protect themselves and their families from potential hurricanes and tropical storms. Hurricane season runs from June 1 through Nov. 30.
“As hurricane season approaches, emergency management professionals across the state are prepared to assist in the event of severe weather,” said Governor Greg Abbott. “Our first responders and emergency management teams in Texas are second to none, as is the resolve of our local and state leaders to protect our communities from harm. I urge Texans to heed all warnings from local and state officials, and to ensure they have a plan in place to protect their loved ones and their property in the event of a hurricane.”
All Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico coastal areas are subject to hurricanes and tropical storms. It is possible for a storm to severely impact our state, even prior to or without making direct landfall in Texas. Hurricanes can cause catastrophic damage to coastlines, and winds can vary from 74 to 157 miles per hour (or higher). In addition, hurricanes and tropical storms can also spawn tornadoes, create dangerous coastal water conditions, including storm surges, and cause extensive flooding damage. Additionally, the rainfall associated with a tropical system can have an extremely wide reach, so monitoring changing weather conditions during hurricane season is critically important for all Texans.
“Texans know firsthand that the damage from a hurricane can be both catastrophic and long-lasting,” said DPS Director Steve McCraw. “There are a few steps everyone can take now that can make all the difference - like assembling an emergency disaster kit and reviewing hurricane evacuation maps and routes. By helping your family plan ahead, you will be ready to respond quickly should a storm head your way.”
Here are several measures residents can take now to prepare for potential storms:
- Assemble an emergency kit that includes essential documents, supplies and provisions.
- Review hurricane evacuation maps, and select a route for you and your family.
- Plan how all family members and pets will evacuate safely.
- Consider any special needs for individuals with disabilities or the elderly.
- Stay informed about changing weather conditions in and around your area.
- Follow the instructions of local officials if a storm develops.
Residents are also encouraged to review their property’s flood risk and current insurance coverage, and to consider whether a separate flood policy should be part of their home protection plan. (Remember most flood policies have a 30-day waiting period before taking effect.) For more information, visit the Texas Department of Insurance website.
If you or someone you know might need assistance during a disaster, register now with the State of Texas Emergency Assistance Registry (STEAR) — a free registry that provides local emergency planners and responders with additional information about the needs in their communities. To register, contact 2-1-1 Texas, the state’s free 24-hour helpline. No matter where you live in Texas, you can dial 2-1-1 or 877-541-7905 for community resources.
You can also find out more about hurricane preparedness on the National Weather Service website.
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