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 2023 Atlantic hurricane season began on June 1 and will conclude on November 30. I am revisiting this topic because it is incredibly important to be prepared during hurricane season. According to the NOAA’S Climate Prediction Center, the outlook predicts a 40% chance of a near-normal season. The Climate Prediction Center is forecasting between 12 to 17 named storms, with about 5 to 9 hurricanes, including 1 to 4 major hurricanes.
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.
If a hurricane is approaching, the best/safest thing to do is evacuate. Discussing how and where you plan to evacuate is essential. 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 having 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 the 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. Additionally, you can visit the hurricane readiness resource page on my website at Hurricane Center.
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 3 2
Rep. Hunter represents Aransas County and Nueces County (Part). He can be contacted at email@example.com or at 512-463-0672.