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Hurricane Season Starts Today, Plan Now

The 2022 Hurricane Season begins today – June 1. And as if on cue, the National Hurricane Center has already highlighted two areas to monitor.

Neither storm will threaten the Houston area. But this should serve as a wake up call. If you haven’t already done so, now is the time to prepare your family and home for hurricanes and their impacts. 

Above Average Hurricane Season Predicted

If you’ve lived in the Houston area for a while, you know how devastating the effects of just one hurricane can be. And NOAA predicts this will be an above average season.

It’s not just the rain that threatens us as it did in Harvey. Wind can knock down trees on houses and power lines. Power outages can last weeks, as they did during Hurricane Ike in 2008.

The eye of Ike passed right over the Lake Houston Area and knocked down so many trees that my business lost power for 19 days. At the start of that hurricane season, Butch Standerfer, a State Farm insurance agent in Kingwood, had alerted me to something called “Business Interruption Insurance.” We purchased it and thank God we did. Had it not been for that, the loss of income would have forced my company out of business.

Ike taught me many valuable lessons about planning before the storm, maintaining situational awareness during the storm, and recovery after the storm. Please share this post with your people and those new to the area.

Preparedness Is Key

“Hurricanes are one of nature’s most powerful and destructive natural disasters that we face. It only takes one to change your life,” said Tina Petersen, Harris County Flood Control District Executive Director. 

Preparedness can help minimize damages if a hurricane threatens the area. Here are some tips I’ve gathered from interviewing hundreds of storm victims.

Purchase Flood Insurance:

Harris County Flood Control District recommends that all Harris County residents become informed about their flood risk and have flood insurance no matter where they reside in the county.  Flood insurance accelerates the rebuilding and replacement of personal property and fosters community resiliency as a whole. 

For information on flood insurance, call your agent, visit the National Flood Insurance Program website, or call 1-888-379-9531.   

If you need help finding an insurance provider go to FloodSmart.gov/flood-insurance-provider or call the NFIP at 877-336-2627.

If you’re counting on FEMA or HUD disaster relief aid after a storm to repair your home, don’t.

Insurance is the only thing you can count on. I know people who lived or worked so far from flood threats that they didn’t think they needed insurance. Almost five years after Harvey, they bitterly regret that decision.

Sign Up for Flood Warning System Alerts:

The Harris County Flood Warning System offers an alert feature that lets you subscribe to email and/or text alerts that report near real-time rainfall and water levels. Customize alerts and notifications for bayous and tributaries in your area. The Alert Notification System will tell you how much water is headed your way and when/if flooding is likely.

Know Your Flood Risk:

View Flood Insurance Rate Maps and floodplain maps at FEMA’s National Flood Hazard Layer Viewer.  

You can also learn more about different types of flooding (street, coastal, riverine, flash, etc.) with Harris County Flood Control’s Flood Education Mapping Tool. This site has interactive features that let you view different types of flood threats in your neighborhood. For instance, clicking on the “ponding” button shows you where streets are likely to flood. It’s useful for planning evacuation routes and also when buying homes.

Locations susceptible to ponding near the center of Kingwood from Harris County’s Flood Education Mapping Tool. See reddish brown areas.
Study the Advice of Experts

Visit the Harris County Flood Control District Storm Center webpage or Resource Page to view the District Hurricane Guide, information on Flood Insurance and more.  

Bookmark Trusted Weather Pages:

Bookmark trusted sources of weather information. In addition to the sources above, bookmark the National Hurricane Center and National Weather Service. Traffic to these sites is likely to be so heavy during a hurricane that they will bog down. So know the exact pages you want.

Make Your Plan:

USAA maintains a Natural Disaster Preparation Site for hurricane preparedness checklists. They advise:

  • Have an evacuation plan.
  • Create an emergency kit.
  • Keep your documents safe.
  • Review your health plan.
  • Inventory your belongings.

ReduceFlooding.com has dozens of links that can help you prepare for hurricanes, including special checklists for senior citizens and pets.

Count on Life Without Electricity for Awhile

Even if you don’t flood, the likely loss of electricity for an extended period will create hardships. Imagine not being able to store food, cook, watch TV, recharge your cell phone, access your Internet service, fill your vehicle with gasoline, use air conditioning, take a hot shower, turn on the lights, or use power tools to make repairs.

Plan for all those contingencies now and you should survive.

Posted by Bob Rehak on June 1, 2022

1737 Days after Hurricane Harvey