Texas prepares for Hurricane Harvey
Thursday, August 24, 2017
With the expected arrival of Hurricane Harvey, the state of Texas is in disaster-preparation mode. Harvey, which has become a hurricane in the Gulf of Mexico, is expected to hit the Texas Gulf Coast as a Category 3 storm in the early morning hours Saturday — the first Category 3 hurricane to hit the U.S. in over a decade.
Texans are bracing for what is anticipated to be tons of heavy rainfall, high winds and dangerous flooding. Winds have reached as high as 80 mph in the wake of the arrival. Texas Gov. Greg Abbott has already declared a state of emergency for 30 Texas counties, according to The Dallas Morning News.
Authorities have requested residents of southeast Texas to evacuate, and mandatory evacuation is now in effect for various counties, according to KSAT-TV. And while most of Texas will not be directly affected by the hurricane, look for Harvey to have a national impact as a third of the nation's oil refineries reside in the state.
As the inevitable takes place, what are the next steps? Being prepared for any natural disaster is key, and when preparing for a hurricane or major tropical storm, understanding the risks and incorporating risk analysis can result into taking responsible action.
Here are three things that can assist in hurricane preparedness:
Stock up on supplies
Food and water, as essential as they are, often times are overlooked items. That is, until a natural disaster is in the near future.
Southeast Texans have been scavenging grocery stores to load up on as much food and water as they can get. They are vital in a disaster supplies kit, as are batteries, flashlights, manual can openers, a first aid kit and charged cellphones. If you have infants or toddlers, make sure bottles, formula, diapers and like items are aplenty. If you have pets, follow this plan.
FEMA provides an emergency supply list that will assist families with what's to come. Read it and apply it.
Take action ... seriously
So many families who are used to storms choose not to do anything when a hurricane comes. Because we never know how serious a natural disaster can be, it's best to not compete against Mother Nature by standing your ground.
Ready.gov suggests that it is wise to have your automobile is in working condition two days before the hurricane's expected arrival. Fill the tank with gas, and make sure the car is capable of going long distances. Additionally, have emergency supplies ready and stored, and pack enough clothing for an extended stay.
Don't try to be a hero in this case. If you are asked by local officials to evacuate, do so. Make sure you cover your home's windows. Ready.gov said "permanent storm shutters offer the best protection for windows," but added that windows with boarded with marine plywood can be serviceable in home protection.
If you do choose to remain home, purchasing a portable generator is a good idea. Losing electricity is a great possibility during hurricanes, and having a generator provide alternate power can be important.
Rely on the professionals
Understand that there are individuals — meteorologists, local authorities, state officials and hurricane specialists — who get paid good money to be the voice of reason in situations like these. Use their expertise to stay safe.
Stay informed by receiving alerts directly from the National Weather Service or The Weather Channel. Listen for proper evacuation routes. To add, the Texas Hotel & Lodging Association has provided lodging information for those who will evacuate.
We must never forget that hurricanes are nothing to play with. But if we take precaution, we can refuse becoming an undesirable statistic of Mother Nature. When it comes to natural disaster preparation, always be a step ahead.
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