Hurricanes can cause massive damage and injury, but they're not our only weather concern along the Gulf Coast. Large storm systems can bring havoc with their high winds and flash flooding potential, leaving a trail of serious injury and property damage in their wake.
There's not a lot we can do to prevent these weather events, but a few common sense preparations can make a big difference in how much inconvenience we experience during and after these events, and how ready we'll be to react effectively should we be called on to help our family or neighbors.
Preparations to Make Before a Storm
If you live in an area threatened by storm surge - an evacuation zone - discuss evacuation plans with your family. Check with city or county officials to find out if your home is in an evacuation zone. Plan your evacuation route now using a zip code-based map (PDF) that displays both main evacuation corridors as well as other evacuation connecting roadways.
Make a checklist of preparations to be made before an evacuation and go over it with your family. Review it again when a storm is in the Gulf of Mexico.
If you plan to stay in a hotel or motel, make reservations and confirm your reservations before you leave. If you plan to stay in a shelter, bring what you need to be comfortable, including bedding and toys for kids.
Prepare an emergency kit for your pets and a plan for how to care for them when you are on the road and in a shelter or motel. Do not leave your pets behind!
Refill and re-check supplies after every storm. Depending on storm damage, some people may be able to return home in a matter of days, for others re-entry may take longer.
Finally, stay informed by monitoring the news media. Local officials will provide information about current conditions, evacuations and re-entry.
Get more hurricane preparedness information at Ready Harris.
There are two excellent guides to weather emergency preparations. This Red Cross guide (PDF) is a quick start that will give you a checklist of the basics you must cover to adequately protect yourself from the worst of storm ravages.
Would you prefer to do your initial research using videos? Click to see a Ready.gov page with helpful info in video format on general preparations, preparations for seniors and those with disabilities, and how to prepare your pet.
It's not just hurricanes that we may face. Get a great overview of proven preparedness strategies for many catastrophic weather events from Texas Prepares.