The Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) is reminding residents that hurricane season begins today and continues through Nov. 30. The department also is warning Texans to not delay in developing their emergency plans in advance of possible hurricanes or tropical storms.
“Many of our communities have already been impacted by severe weather events this year,” said Texas Governor Greg Abbott. “As we enter the 2016 hurricane season, I urge residents to start preparing now for these possible storms – if they have not done so yet – and to make it a practice to monitor weather conditions and to heed directives from their local officials.”
“It is critical that Texans have an established hurricane plan and emergency kit in place before a hurricane or tropical storm ever forms or enters the Gulf of Mexico,” said DPS Director Steven McCraw. “Advance preparation is a critical game-changer in helping protect lives and property, and we urge residents to remind their family, friends and neighbors of this life-saving step.”
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.
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.
For more ways to prepare for the 2016 hurricane season, please visit: www.texasprepares.org.