The 2018 Hurricane Season is here! Although June 1 is the official beginning date, Subtropical Storm Albert reached the coast of the Florida Panhandle on Sunday, May 27. Residents of the Texas Gulf Coastal region saw the headlines and heard the reporters announcing the weather event and for many the memories of August 25, 2017, returned. Hopefully, these recollections will motivate current residents to be better prepared for the 2018 hurricane season.
Those who lived in the path of Hurricane Harvey know the devastation caused by the winds, storm surge, tornados and flooding.
New residents should find out what potential wind and water hazards could happen where they reside. Anyone new to the Gulf Coast region needs to remember hurricanes can also impact communities hundreds of miles inland.
The official hurricane season extends from June 1 to November 30 but the peak occurs between mid-August and late October. Too often residents wait until August to begin thinking and planning for the possibility of a storm but there are many things which can be done now. North Bay residents know preparation is part of living on the Texas coast and the Harvey experience proves earlier is better.
June is a good time for an insurance check-up. A visit with your insurance company or agent to review your coverage for a home, car and/or boat can avoid surprises following a tropical weather event.
You want to be sure the coverage will cover repairs or even replacement. Review the basic policy information including the property address. Any errors can result in claim denials, as at least one local business found out.
A quick check now to be sure important documents are all in one, easily carried receptacle can make evacuation a smoother process. Be sure to include titles, insurance policies, personal identification documents and anything which might be requested following a disaster.
Now is also the time to purchase and construct coverings for windows and doors. Having them ready to install when a warning is issued will allow more time for the last-minute details. If there is a garage door, remember it is the most vulnerable part of a home and protects the entire building from possible structural damage. Before adding a brace, it is recommended to have an inspection by a garage door professional to be sure the additional weight is balanced.
Those living in a storm surge/hurricane evacuation zone need to make a plan, then make another and another. Having alternate ideas thought through in advance provides choices if evacuation is necessary. Make a list of possible friends or family members with suitable shelter and start a discussion now.
Even tropical storms can play havoc with power and communications. Be sure to have an adequate supply of batteries, candles and matches or lighters. Check your flashlights and the battery-powered radio. A portable crank or solar powered USB charger can help to maintain contact with family and for work.
The immediate days before Harvey’s landfall, lines in stores were long as people purchased non-perishable food, water and other supplies. Following hurricane Harvey’s landfall, it was over a week before most assistance began to arrive. H.E.B grocery stores in the North Bay area began handing out water and ice within two days to anyone who pulled into the parking lot.
Those who experienced those days know how important it is to have a minimum of two week’s supply of necessary medicines and other supplies for each person.
Harvey experience demonstrated the most important resource available to residents immediately following a severe weather event is neighbors. Following the devastation of Harvey, everyone had a story to tell. Most of these were about how someone helped.
Some were individuals living next-door, some were next-town neighbors, and some were family members who immediately came prepared to help.
Remember the spirit of community demonstrated after Harvey and keep it alive. Check to be sure your neighbors are prepared for this hurricane season.