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Texans Urged to Prepare for Hurricane Season

Texans urged to be prepared for hurricane season. Credit: NASA.
Texans urged to be prepared for hurricane season. Credit: NASA.
July 29, 2015

AUSTIN, Texas - With more than four months left in this year's hurricane season, the state Department of Public Safety is reminding Texans that now is the time to review emergency plans.

DPS Sgt. Lonny Haschel said it's important to make plans before a hurricane or tropical storm enters the Gulf.

"We encourage folks to prepare, and be ready, and then have a plan," he said. "Discuss it with one another. Sit down at the kitchen table or dinnertime and say, 'OK, this hurricane comes, we're going to take this route out. Here's our go-kit, it's over in this location.' "

Along with basics - flashlights, battery-powered radios, a three-day supply of water and food - families need to make arrangements for anyone with mobility issues, Haschel said. To ensure that officials know in advance if evacuation assistance is needed, he encouraged residents to register with the state's "STEAR" program by calling 211.

Haschel noted that both coastal and inland areas can be at risk. He said a hurricane's strongest winds - some exceeding 155 miles per hour - occur far from the storm's center. Tropical storms also can spawn tornadoes and severe flooding, he said.

"It's something that you really need to take very seriously," he said. "So, when these warnings come up, and they're letting you know if you need to evacuate, evacuate. If you're in an area prone to that, go ahead and go now. Really pay attention and listen to what the local officials say when it comes time for that emergency."

Don't forget to include household pets in the plan, Haschel said, and prescription medications for family members who need them.

Hurricane season officially ends Dec. 1.

For more information on ways to prepare, visit the website TexasPrepares.org. Tips for special needs are at dps.texas.gov.

Eric Galatas, Public News Service - TX