FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
December 2, 2019
Active Atlantic Hurricane Season Concludes
Tropical Storm Imelda Affects Thousands in Harris County
(Harris County, TX) – The Atlantic hurricane season ended officially November 30, closing with higher activity than was predicted for 2019. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) predicted a normal season, ranging from 9 to 15 named storms, 4 to 8 of which would become hurricanes. The 2019 season saw 18 named storms, including Tropical Storm Imelda, which rapidly developed in the Gulf of Mexico and made landfall on the Texas coast.
Imelda was the fifth-wettest tropical cyclone on record, dropping more than 40 inches of rainfall in neighboring Jefferson County and 25-28 inches in Harris County, causing devastating flooding and extensive damage during a four-day period. Imelda claimed five lives and caused considerable damage throughout the region. Initial damage estimates from Imelda are more than $1,000,000,000.
The Harris County Office of Homeland Security & Emergency Management (HCOHSEM) has been working closely with local, state, federal and non-profit partners to expedite recovery. Immediately after landfall, HCOHSEM worked in tandem with the Harris County Community Services Department and an array of local non-profit groups to stand up Local Recovery Centers to assist survivors. Throughout that effort, county agencies and volunteers worked to connect residents with help to clean up homes, provide utility bill assistance, food and water, and help with other immediate needs. Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo, along with other state and local officials also urged President Trump to provide additional federal assistance. On October 4th, the President approved a Major Disaster Declaration for the storm, allowing those impacted to apply for Individual Assistance (IA) from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).
“As tragic as Imelda was, it could have been much, much worse,” said Harris County Judge Hidalgo. “Everyone did their part – from our first responders who sacrificed their own safety to save lives to residents who heeded advice to stay off the roads. Moving forward, our focus will remain on helping survivors complete their recovery. Hurricane season may be over, but now is not the time to let down our guard when it comes to being prepared. Disasters – both natural and manmade – can happen at any time. We urge residents across Harris County to learn what they can do and take action-year round to stay prepared by visiting ReadyHarris.org
HCOHSEM reminds residents affected by Imelda that they may apply for FEMA Individual Assistance until December 3, 2019. To apply, go to www.disasterassistance.gov
or call 800-621-3362. Residents interested in donating funds for the ongoing recovery effort are encouraged to donate to the Imelda Assistance Fund, which provides support to local organizations with experience providing support for disaster survivors in Harris County. Donations may be made by using the donate link on ReadyHarris.org
HCOHSEM encourages residents to stay prepared and informed for emergencies throughout the year. Go to www.readyharris.org
to sign up for emergency alerts or follow ReadyHarris
on social media for information and preparedness tips.