June 1st Marks Official Start of 2018 Hurricane Season - Harris County Urges Residents to Prepare
June 1st Marks Official Start of 2018 Hurricane Season
Harris County Urges Residents to Prepare
(Harris County, TX) – Today marks the official start of the 2018 Atlantic hurricane season and early predictions call for another active year. Last week, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Prediction Center released its seasonal outlook which indicates that 10 to 16 tropical storms could potentially develop in the Atlantic basin this year. Of these storms, five to nine could become hurricanes, and one to four could strengthen into major hurricanes with winds over 111 mph.
If that forecast holds, it would make for a near-normal or above-normal season. An average hurricane season produces 12 named storms, of which six become hurricanes, including three major hurricanes. Regardless of the forecast, it only takes one storm to make it a bad year.
“Despite the predictions, the truth is that we have no way of knowing if or when we will face any storms or whether those storms will threaten us with surge, wind or rain,” said Harris County Judge Ed Emmett. “That is why we need to prepare ahead of time, no matter how many hurricanes are expected.”
Last year, Harris County experienced its worst flood ever when heavy rainfall from Hurricane Harvey stalled in southeast Texas in late August. This disaster claimed 36 lives in Harris County alone and caused billions of dollars in damage.
The Harris County Office of Homeland Security & Emergency Management (HCOHSEM) works year-round to remind residents that preparedness is key to surviving disasters of all types. Every hurricane season, HCOHSEM urges residents to create a personal or family plan and assemble an emergency supplies kit that contains enough non-perishable food and water to last seven to ten days. Below are other essential items to include:
- Copies of insurance papers and identification sealed in a watertight plastic bag
- First-aid kit
- NOAA weather radio and batteries
- Mobile phone and charger
- Prescription medicines
- Sleeping bag or blankets
- Personal hygiene items such as toothbrush, toothpaste, soap, and deodorant
- Cash or checkbook
- Pet supplies including food, water, leashes, bedding, and vaccination records
If you need help with your emergency plan download the free ReadyHarris app from the App Store or Google Play. The ReadyHarris app delivers real time weather alerts, hosts a step-by-step guide to building a personalized family disaster plan, offers survival tip sheets, maps evacuation routes, and locates local emergency services.
Residents who live in an evacuation zone need to learn their evacuation routes and follow instructions from local authorities. To determine if your home is located in an evacuation zone, check the Zip Zone Evacuation Map.
If you are asked to evacuate:
- Leave as soon as possible
- Secure your home; lock windows and doors
- Unplug appliances; turn off electricity and main water valve
- Pack your emergency supply kit, extra blankets, and sleeping bags
- Take your pets with you
- Make sure your gas tank is full
- Follow recommended evacuation routes
If you are staying home:
- Identify a safe room, an area with no windows; stock it with a battery-powered TV/radio with spare batteries, sleeping bags, pillows, snacks, and water
- Secure your home; put away outdoor objects and furniture
- Fill bathtubs with water for non-drinking use (such as flushing toilets)
- Wait until storm passes to come out
If you will need help evacuating, sign up with the State of Texas Emergency Assistance Registry (STEAR) online or call 2-1-1 to register for transportation. STEAR is a free service available to the elderly, people with access and functional needs, and individuals who do not have any other means of transportation.
It is important to stay informed before, during and after a hurricane. Sign up to receive weather and emergency alerts at www.readyharris.org and closely monitor the news media. Local officials will provide information about current conditions, evacuations and re-entry. Residents can also follow HCOHSEM on Facebook and Twitter.