Previously, I shared important information on how to prepare in case of a hurricane. I would like to revisit that topic in relation to another type of weather emergency with the potential to affect residents of the Coastal Bend: flooding. Given our community’s proximity to the Texas coast, many residents are already aware that flooding can occur near the water or in other low-lying areas. However, as illustrated by the recent flood events, flooding is a possibility even in those areas not typically at risk for this type of weather disaster. With this in mind, I would like to share some of the necessary steps you can take to ensure your family is safe and prepared in case of a flood.
One of the most important ways to prepare for a weather emergency is by developing a family disaster response plan. This can be accomplished by first identifying specific flood risk factors such as geographical location, the structure in which you reside, and personal circumstances such as medical conditions. Another important component of this disaster response plan is identifying evacuation strategies in order to prevent confusion and injury in times of emergency.
In addition to a comprehensive family disaster response plan, another key way to prepare for a flood is by creating a disaster response kit that includes items such as flashlights, batteries, telephones, radios and sufficient tools in case of an emergency.
Other important items to consider are blankets, pillows, seasonal clothing and special items for infants and the elderly. Be sure to also include first aid supplies as well as medicines and prescription drugs. Along with various necessities, this kit should include copies of personal documents such as insurance information, birth certificates, and family and emergency contact information. The American Red Cross also recommends having a three-day supply of nonperishable food and water on hand in case of a flood.
Protecting your home, car, and other personal property should also include ensuring you have the right insurance coverage in case of a weather event such as flooding. The National Flood Insurance is a pre-disaster flood program designed to reduce flood disasters. There is typically a 30-day waiting period for most insurance policies to go into effect, which is why it is essential to have the right coverage in place before a weather emergency occurs. You can learn more about the National Flood Insurance program at FEMA National Flood Insurance Program.
In the event of inclement weather, those living in areas susceptible to flooding should pay close attention to local emergency alerts and weather advisories issued by the National Weather Service. These alerts and advisories are helpful in determining the risk of flooding in your area and what, if any, action you should take. Typically, there are four key terms used that help to indicate your risk level:
• Flood Advisory: A Flood Advisory is issued when flooding is not expected to be bad enough to issue a warning. However, it may cause significant inconvenience, and if caution is not exercised, it could lead to situations that may threaten life and/or property.
• Flood Watch: A Flood Watch is issued when conditions are favorable for a specific hazardous weather event to occur. A Flood Watch is issued when conditions are favorable for flooding, but it does not mean flooding will occur.
• Flood Warning: A Flood Warning is issued when the hazardous weather event is imminent or already happening. A Flood Warning is issued when flooding is imminent or occurring.
• Flash Flood Warning: A Flash Flood Warning is issued when a flash flood is imminent or occurring. If you are in a flood prone area move immediately to high ground. A flash flood is a sudden violent flood that can take from minutes to hours to develop. It is even possible to experience a flash flood in areas not immediately receiving rain.
When flooding occurs in your area, it is important to remember to always avoid walking or driving through floodwaters when possible. It only takes six inches of moving water to affect the ability to walk and two feet of water to sweep a vehicle away. Information regarding evacuation routes and travel safety during a storm is available by visiting Drive Texas. For more information please related to floods, visit Ready.gov-Floods, and National Weather Service – Flood.
If you have questions regarding any of the information mentioned in this week’s article, please do not hesitate to call my Capitol or District Office. Please always feel free to contact my office if you have any questions or issues regarding a Texas state agency, or if you would like to contact my office regarding constituent services. As always, my offices are available at any time to assist with questions, concerns or comments (Capitol Office, 512-463-0672; District Office, 361-949-4603).
– State Representative Todd Hunter, District 32
Rep. Hunter represents Nueces County (Part). He can be contacted at email@example.com or at 512-463-0672.