August 17, 2021 by HCDE-Texas
When it comes to hurricanes, Harris County is especially at risk. While some are closer to water than others, all Harris County residents are susceptible and vulnerable to the effects of a hurricane. Hurricane season runs from June 1 to Nov. 30, and this season is predicted to be particularly active. With this in mind, it is important as ever to solidify your tropical storm preparedness knowledge. View the resources below to make sure you’re ready.
Know Your Hurricane Risk
Keep an eye out for messages from local officials to understand your hurricane risk. Sign up for the Harris County Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Management’s (OHSEM) Ready Harris Alerts or download the FEMA app for text message updates on developing tropical storms. You can also view your local forecast by ZIP code on the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) National Hurricane Center website and follow @NCH_Atlantic on Twitter.
Know Your Evacuation Zone
Hurricane evacuation zones are used to determine the extent of coastal storm surge, or water pushed inland by a tropical system. Learn your evacuation zone to determine whether you would need to evacuate when a hurricane threatens. Don’t travel hundreds of miles, only far enough to avoid hurricane hazards such as flooding and tornadoes. Know your evacuation route but plan an alternate route and place to stay. Visit the Harris County OHSEM website, ReadyHarris.org, and find the Hurricane Evacuation ZIP Zone Map to find your zone and routes by ZIP code.
Assemble Disaster Supplies
Gather needed supplies for at least seven to 10 days. Don’t forget your specific needs like meds, powered devices, or pets, and keep cash in your emergency essentials kit.
If you don’t have one already, start an emergency savings fund. An emergency fund should generally cover your living expenses for three to six months. Make sure your insurance policies and personal documents like ID are up to date and keep copies in a secure password-protected digital space. Review your policies to see if you have flood insurance, as flooding is the leading cause of damage from tropical storms. Take advantage the Emergency Financial First Aid Kit, a joint publication from Operation Hope and FEMA which provides tips to reduce the financial impact of disasters and aid you in the recovery process. Learn more about flood insurance and tips for financial preparedness to ensure that you’re fully covered if disaster strikes.
Strengthen Your Home
Make sure your home is in good repair and meets local hurricane building codes. Declutter drains and gutters, move all loose outdoor items inside, trim trees of any weak branches. Have the proper materials in place to board up your doors and windows to protect them from flying debris. Know a safe location to move your car during a hurricane, whether it’s your garage or elsewhere. If you stay in your home during a hurricane and are not in a flood-prone area:
- Fill bathtubs and all available containers with water
- Turn off utilities, if requested
- Remain indoors in a closet, bathroom, or hallway on the lower level of your house,
- away from windows
- Cover yourself and family members with a mattress or a dining room table to protect yourself from falling debris
Help Your Neighbors
Get to know your neighbors before an emergency strikes and exchange contact information. Check with elderly neighbors, senior adults, or others who may need additional help making a plan to see how you can assist.
Make an Emergency Plan
Once you’ve gathered all pertinent information, write down your hurricane plan, share it with neighbors and family members, and practice it. Be sure to include your pets and how you will get in touch with others when planning. Review Ready Harris’ many resources for local assistance and tips from the NOAA for additional guidance on what to do after a hurricane.