AUSTIN – In advance of the 2017 hurricane season, the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) is urging Texans to begin making plans to protect themselves and their families. Hurricane season begins June 1 and continues through Nov. 30, and Texas Governor Greg Abbott has proclaimed this week, May 7-13, to be Hurricane Preparedness Week.
"The impending hurricane season presents the potential for powerful storms and dangerous conditions across the state that could endanger lives and cause extensive damage – something many Texans have already endured this year," said Governor Abbott. "I encourage all residents to be mindful of the dangers, closely monitor weather warnings in their areas and always comply with evacuation orders issued by local officials."
All Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico coastal areas are subject to hurricanes or tropical storms. It is possible for a storm to severely impact our state, even prior to or without making direct landfall in Texas. Additionally, the rainbands associated with a tropical system have an extremely wide reach, so monitoring changing weather conditions during hurricane season is critically important for all Texans.
"Early preparation can be the difference between life and death when hurricanes or severe weather occur, and it is crucial for Texans to begin preparing for future storms now," said DPS Director Steven McCraw. "DPS urges all Texans – not just residents living in coastal areas – to develop a hurricane plan and assemble an emergency kit in case of a disaster."
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 along the coast, and cause extensive damage from flooding.
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.
If you or someone you know might need assistance during a disaster, please register for the State of Texas Emergency Assistance Registry (STEAR), a free registry that provides local emergency planners and responders with additional information about 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.
To read the governor's proclamation, visit Hurricane Preparedness Week.
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