In this week’s article I would like to remind everyone of the importance of being prepared for the upcoming storm and hurricane season. When storms and hurricanes make landfall, they can affect the lives of thousands of Texans along the coast and across the state. As storm and hurricane season continues, being prepared, being aware of hazards, and having a plan for evacuation can be lifesaving.
The 2020 Atlantic hurricane season began on June 1 and will conclude on November 30. I am revisiting this topic because the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has predicted, due to multiple climate factors, that this hurricane season will most likely have an above-normal activity. According to the NOAA’S Climate Prediction Center, the outlook predicts a 60% chance of an above-normal Season. The climate Prediction Center is forecasting between 13 to 19 named storms, with about 6 to 10 hurricanes, including 3 to 6 major hurricanes. On average, there are about 12 named storms in a hurricane season.
During hurricane season, tropical cyclones are more likely to form. Tropical cyclones are a rotating organized system of clouds and thunderstorms that originate over tropical or subtropical waters, have a closed low-level circulation, and rotate counterclockwise. Not all tropical cyclones produce hurricanes. NOAA defines a tropical cyclone with maximum sustained winds of 38mph or less as tropical depressions. A tropical storm is a tropical cyclone with maximum sustained winds of 39-73mph. Hurricanes are a tropical cyclone with wind speeds of 74 mph or higher and a major hurricane has a maximum sustained wind speed of 111 mph or more.
Because of the coronavirus, storm preparation and evacuation will involve different procedures including social distancing and health and safety standards. We will keep everyone updated on these updates.
If a hurricane is approaching, the best/safest thing to do is evacuate discussing how and where you plan to evacuate is essential, as well. To find the best evacuation route please visit Hurricane Information. It is advised to prepare an evacuation checklist and kit ahead of time. The Texas Division of Emergency Management and the National Weather Service recommends all coastal residents to have these items in their evacuation kits:
• First-aid kit, prescription medications, eyeglasses, copies of prescriptions, other special medical items, hearing aids and batteries
• Important documents and records, photo IDs, proof of residence, information to process insurance claims
• Credit cards and cash (if power is out, banks and ATMs may not be available)
• Battery-operated radio, NOAA Weather Radio, and extra batteries
• Phone numbers of family, friends, and other important phone numbers
• Road maps
• 3-day supply of non-perishable food, one gallon of bottled water per person per day, coolers for food and ice storage, paper plates, utensils
• Manual can opener, knife, tools, booster cables, fire extinguisher, duct tape, tarp, rope, flashlight with extra batteries
• Extra keys
• Blankets, pillows, sleeping bags for each person, extra clothing, toys for children
• Supplies for babies, the elderly and family members with special health care needs
• Toilet paper, cleanup supplies, personal hygiene products
• Leash, food, cleaning supplies and veterinary records for pets
The physical damage from hurricanes can be devastating. There are ways to mitigate damage from the strong winds and rain. Simple fixes include trimming or removing damaged trees and limbs from your yard, as well as, have the proper materials in advance to board windows to protect them. Also, you can bring loose outdoor items inside, and secure all doors on your property, including the garage door, which is usually the most vulnerable.
To keep up with potential storms throughout hurricane season, visit National Hurricane Center. The National Hurricane Center provides several resources to keep you up to date. For more information on how and what to prepare for hurricane season, please visit the American Red Cross. You can also visit the Texas Department of State Health Services. For more information you can visit the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. Also, as I stated earlier, as we continue to deal with COVID-19, you may need to adjust any preparedness actions based on the latest health and safety guidelines from the CDC and local officials. It is very important to be prepared for hurricane season, as it is every year.
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. 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 firstname.lastname@example.org or at 512-463-0672.