It’s August and that means it’s storm season in Texas. Although the season officially started on June 1, this week marks the anniversary of landfall for Hurricane Harvey, so as luck would have it, Hurricane Laura also decided it’s a good week to wreak havoc on Texas. If the National Weather Service storm track shows you are in the projected path of the storm, it’s time to get ready and maybe even get moving. If you’re slightly outside that path or even further inland, the storm’s approach is a reminder that you and your family need to stay on alert and equip yourselves as weather-related disasters approach.
I encourage you to BE PREPARED, BE INFORMED, BE PROACTIVE, BE COMPASSIONATE
BEING PREPARED is based on assessing your situation in advance and preparing for whatever troubles might come your way. Some recommended steps on www.TexasReady.gov include:
- Put together an emergency supply kit. Watch a video on how to build a Go-Kit.
- Create a communication plan with your family.
- Sign up for your community or county warning system.
- Know flood risks in your area.
- Know your evacuation routes.
- Keep important documents in a waterproof container; create password-protected digital copies.
- Protect your property; move valuables to higher levels; declutter drains and gutters.
- Follow weather alerts.
When it comes to BEING INFORMED, here is a list of handy websites you should bookmark and use to keep tabs on the developing situation and inform any decisions you may have to make.
National Hurricane Center page for Hurricane Laura has multiple, constantly updated maps.
Texas Hurricane Center, run by the Texas Division of Emergency Management is a great clearinghouse of real-time information.
NOAA’s Local Weather Alerts provide real time updates on conditions in your area.
If you lose power during the storm, you can access the Public Utility Commission’s Outage Map with your smartphone to keep track of reconnection efforts.
BEING PROACTIVE is important. Waiting too long to heed the guidance of local officials can put you behind the power curve and a whole lot of traffic. So, in addition to the alerts offered by TDEM, take time to look up your county judge here then find and bookmark their site for local information.
Finally, be sure to BE COMPASSIONATE. Check on your neighbors, especially if they are elderly or have a disability that might limit their ability to react to a storm. Whether they need food or just to see a friendly face in a challenging time, your compassion can make a difference. Also, if your home is damaged or you’re forced to evacuate, you’ll be surrounded by people experiencing the same stress and struggle, so choose compassion as a starting point for your actions and reactions.
No matter how bad a storm might be, Texans endure with our combination of PREPARATION, AWARENESS, PROACTIVITY and COMPASSION. The better we work together on all four, the better off we’ll all be.