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Hurricanes
Common terms
  • Tropical Disturbance: An area of disturbed weather in the tropics that has the pontential of storm development.
  • Tropical Depression: A closed low pressure circulation at the surface in the tropics with winds up to 39 mph.
  • Tropical Storm: A closed low pressure circulation at the surface in the tropics with winds 39 to 73 mph.
  • Hurricane: A closed low pressure circulation in the tropics with winds in excess of 74 mph.
  • Small Craft Advisory: When issued in conjunction with possible hurricane conditions for this area, advised small craft operators to take precautions and not to venture into the open Gulf.
  • Gale Warning: When winds of 38-55 mph are expected.
  • Storm Warning: When winds of 55-74 mph are expected. Normally, not used in the Gulf or this area; usually hurricane warnings follow gale warnings.
  • Hurricane Watch: Hurricane may threaten this area within 24 to 36 hours.
  • Hurricane Warning: Hurricane force winds or high tides and seas are expected to strike this area within 24 hours.
Before a Hurricane Threatens
Know the elevation of your home above sea level. This information is available from local Emergency Management officials. Your nearest Weather Service office can supply flood stage data for area streams and bayous.

Learn Potential Maximum Storm Surge
Find out if your home is subject to storm surge (tidal) flooding. Information about the potential for inland flooding and storm surge is available through the nearest Weather Service office.

How Safe is Your Home?
  • Plan to relocate during a hurricane emergency if you live near the seashore. If you live in a mobile home, always plan to relocate.
  • Know the Location of the Nearest Shelter. Emergency Management or Red Cross personnel can give you the location of the shelter nearest your home and explain what you should bring with you.
  • Plan for your family's safety. Know how to contact family members should the need arise.
  • Plan Route to Safety If You Must Leave Plan you escape route early. Check with Emergency Management personnel for low points and flooding history of your route. Check the number of hours it could take you to evacuate to a safe area during peak evacuation traffic.

Inventory Your Property
A complete inventory of personal property will help in obtaining insurance settlements and/or tax deductions for losses. Inventory checklists can be obtained from many sources, including your insurance representative. Don't trust your memory. List descriptions and take pictures. Store these and other important insurance papers in waterproof containers or in your safety deposit box.

Check Insurance Coverage
Review your insurance policies and your coverage to avoid misunderstanding later. Take advantage of flood insurance. Separate policies are needed for protection against wind and flood damage, which people frequently don't realize until too late. Do not wait until a hurricane is in the Gulf-by then, it's too late. When a storm is heading to shore, insurance offices are too busy preparing for the emergency and won't be able to respond to individual requests, and insurance can't be obtained.
When a Watch is Issued
Make Plans Early
  • Listen Constantly to Radio or TV. Monitor storm reports and keep a log of hurricane position. Remember evacuation routes sometimes can be closed up to 20 hours before landfall by wind gusting or storm surge flooding.
  • If considering moving to a shelter, make arrangements for all pets. Pets are not allowed in shelters.
  • Refill needed prescriptions.
  • If evauation has not already been recommended, consider leaving the area early to avoid long hours on limited evacuation routes.

Supplies: A Checklist
  • Transistor radio with fresh batteries: A radio will be your most useful source of information. have enough batteries to last several days. There may be no electricity.
  • Flashlights, candles or lamps, and matches: Store matches in waterproof container. Have enough lantern fuel for several days, and know how to use it safely.
  • Full tank of gasoline: Never let your vehicle gas tank be less than half-full during hurricane season. Fill the tank as soon as a hurricane watch is posted. Remember: When there is no electricity, gas pumps won't work.
  • Canned goods and non-perishable foods: Store packaged foods that can be prepared without cooking and need no refrigeration. There may be no electricity or gas.
  • Containers for Drinking Water Have clean, air-tight containers to store sufficient drinking water for several days. The city supply will probably be interrupted or contaminated.
  • Materials to protect glass openings: Have shutters or lumber for protecting windows and doors.
  • Materials for emergency repairs: Your insurance policy may cover the cost of materials used in temporary repairs, so keep all receipts. These will also be helpful for any income tax deductions.
  • When a Warning is Issued
    • Continue listening to radio or TV: Continue to monitor hurricane position, intensity and expected landfall.
    • If You live in a mobile home: Check tie-downs and leave immediately for a safer place. Mobile homes are not safe in hurricane-force winds.
    • Prepare for high winds: Brace your garage door. Lower antennas. Be prepared to make repairs.
    • Anchor outside objects: Garbage cans, awnings, loose garden tools, toys and other loose objects can become deadly missiles. Anchor them securely or move them indoors.
    • Protect windows and other glass: Board up or shutter windows securely. Draw drapes across windows and doors to protect against flying glass if shattering does occur. DO NOT TAPE WINDOWS. It increases the chances for larger, more dangerous pieces of flying glass.
    • Move boats on trailers close to house: Fill boats with water to weight them down. Lash securely to trailer and use tie-downs to anchor trailer to the ground or house.
    • Check mooring lines of boats in water … THEN LEAVE THEM.
    • Store valuables and personal papers: Put irreplaceable documents in waterproof containers and store in highest possible spot. If you evacuate, be sure to take them with you.
    • Store drinking water in clean containers.
    • Plan a flood-free evacuation route, and know where to go.
    • If ordered to evacuate, OBEY IMMEDIATELY! Take your Hurricane Evacuation Kit. Let friends and neighbors know where you are going.
    • Do not enter evacuated areas until local officials have issued an all-clear.

    Hurricane Evacuation Kit
    In the event of an emergency, you should keep your hurricane evacuation kit ready to go within hours. Some suggested items to keep on hand:
    • Battery-operated radio
    • Battery-operated flashlight
    • First aid kit
    • 2-week supply of medicine
    • Blankets or sleeping bags
    • Extra clothing
    • Lightweight folding chairs/cots
    • Personal items including books and toys
    • Infant necessities
    • Important papers (valid ID)

    Remember, there is no smoking, alcoholic beverages, weapons or pets allowed in public shelters.
    If You Stay at Home
    • In an inside room away from doors and windows. Don't go out in the brief calm during passage of the eye of the storm. the lull sometimes ends suddenly as winds return from the opposite direction. Winds can increase in seconds to 75 mph or more.
    • Protect property without taking any unnecessary risks, protect your property from damage. Temporary repairs can reduce your losses.
    • Stay away from windows and glass doors. Move furniture away from exposed doors and windows.
    • Stay tuned to media broadcasts. Keep a radio or television tuned for information from official sources. Unexpected changes can sometimes call for last minute relocations.
    • Remain Calm. Your ability to meet emergencies will help others.
    Prepare for tornadoes, storm surge and floods
    Tornadoes, storm surge and flash floods are the worst killers associated with a hurricane.
    • During a tornado warning, seek shelter inside in an interior hallway, closet or bathroom on ground level. If outside, move away at right angles from the tornado; if escape is impossible, lie flat in a ditch or low spot.
    • The surge of ocean water plus flash flooding of streams and rivers due to torrential rains combine to make drowning the greatest cause of hurricane deaths.
    If You Evacuate
    Hurricanes cause massive damage and loss of life. From the 1900 storm that devastated Galveston Island, killing more than 6,000 people, to Hurricane Alicia in 1983, Texas has weathered ten of the 30 worst hurricanes in United States history. Since then, thousands of new residents have moved into high-risk areas with little or no experience of preparing for our surviving storms of such magnitude. Many other Texans have acquired a false sence of security believing that, "It won't happen to me." Don't be a casualty of out next hurricane. Plan ahead.

    Am I at risk from a hurricane?
    Look at the color-coded map to find out. It shows the areas at risk from winds and storm surge associated with hurricanes. There are five of these risk areas, each shown in a different color and each corresponding to one of the five categories of hurricanes on the Saffir/Simpson Scales. The stronger the storm, the greater the inland impact will be and the more risk areas affected.

    How will I know when to evacuate?
    Your local officials will tell you. During a Hurricane Watch, listen to your radio or television constantly. Emergency officials can interrupt routine broadcasts to give special weather updates, warning messages, and evacuation information. Tune to Texas City's 530 AM, or Texas City's Channel 64 Cable TV, KTRH 740 AM; KPRC 950 AM or KLOL 101.1 FM for this information. For 24-hour weather broadcasts from the National Weather Service, tune to NOAA Weather Radio on the high-band FM frequency 162.55 megahertz (MHz) that broadcasts from Galveston, 162.40 MHz that broadcasts from Houston, or 162.425 MHz that broadcasts from Bay City.

    What can I do to prepare for a storm?
    While there are no sure ways to predict when and where a hurricane will come ashore in Texas, both cities and counties have emergency managers whose job is to prepare the community and its citizens for these storms and other disasters. For answers to specific questions you may have concerning hurricanes and preparing for them, contact your local Emergency Management Office. In addition, read the information in this brochure and share it with friends and family. Keep the brochure in a prominent location in the your house. when a hurricane threatens, it will help you survive the storm.

    How should I prepare for an evacuation?
    Prepare a disaster supplies kit and pack it in your vehicle. Make sure your car is in good repair and full of gas. Secure your home: turn off the gas, water, and electricity; board up the windows and draw drapes across them; brace garage doors; bring in or secure any loose objects in the yard; and lock all windows and doors. If you have a boat, secure it on a trailer near your house and fill it with water. Make arrangements for pets before you leave; most public shelters, and many hotels and motels do not allow them. Leave a note telling where you plan to go. Designate an out-of-area contact that family and friends can call to get information on your whereabouts. Finally, designate a meeting point for your family should you get separated.

    What if I need help to evacuate?
    Arrange beforehand with friends or family to help you evacuate. If you have no one to turn to or you have special needs, get in touch with your local officials now. They need to know who you are, where you live, and what kind of help you need so they can be ready to provide aid when a storm threatens.

    How long will it take to evacuate?
    That depends on the size of the storm and the number of people who evacuate. the chart on the reverse side will give you an idea, but keept in mind the times shown are only estimates. They assume that all evacuation routes are open and only show the time needed to move all traffic inland just beyond the threatened risk areas. It will take longer to reach a shelter location or your final destination. Also, keep in mind, if the chart shows 10 hours, officials won't wait until the storm is 10 hours from landfall to begin an evacuation. Remember, the goal is to get everyone out of the threatened area before evacuation routes become impassable or unsafe due to flooding or high winds. This wil happen when the storm is still many hours away from landfall. So, don't be surprised if there are no clouds and the sun is shining when local officials tell you to evacuate. Follow their instructions; your health and safety are their main concern.

    Where should I go?
    Inland, away from the coast. Use the evacuation routes shown on this map. Most of these roads are marked with blue hurricane evacuation signs. If you have friends or family at an inland location, arrange beforehand to stay with them. If you plan to stay in a hotel or motel, make reservations prior to departure to ensure you have a room. Cities and towns along the main evacuation routes may open public shelters, but these will be crowded and the creature comforts, limited. If you need to use a public shelter, listen to your radio as you are evacuating to find out where shelters are open.

    Provided to the City of Texas City by the Texas Division of Emergency Management

     When Officials Recommend an Evacuation

    • Coordinate your departure with the people who will be traveling with you. Notify an out-of-area person of your evacuation plans.
    • Secure your home.
    • Pack your disaster supplies kit into your vehicle. Double check your evacuation route and leave.

    Who Should Plan to Leave Early?

    • Persons living on the coast, on barrier islands, or in low-lying or flood-prone areas
    • Persons who live in manufactured housing
    • Persons with special needs, including health or mobility-related concerns

    Secure Your Home

    • Turn off gas, water, and electricity.
    • Board up windows,
    • Draw drapes across windows.
    • Brace garage doors.
    • Bring in outdoor furniture and other loose objects; anchor those items you cannot bring inside.
    • Place boats on trailers; locate near home; and fill boats with water.
    • Lock all windows and doors.
    • Make arrangements for pets before leaving; most shelters and many hotels and motels do not allow them.

    Evacuation Tips

    • Keep your vehicle in good repair with a full tank of fuel.
    • Check on friends and neighbors who may have special needs.
    • Prepare your disaster supplies kit now and take it with you when you evacuate.
    • Secure your home quickly; evacuate when asked to do so.
    • Have an out-of-area point of contact whom family and friends can call to learn your evacuation plans.
    • Designate a meeting point for your family should you get separated.
    • If possible, have a CB radio or other form of communication to take with you. Use it only for emergencies.
    • Monitor local radio and television constantly for the latest news and information.

    Your Disaster Supplies Kit

    • Can opener
    • Three-day supply of non-perishable food
    • Bedding or sleeping bags
    • Fire estinguisher
    • Bleach (without lemon or other additives)
    • Mosquito repellent
    • Extra prescription medicine or refill information
    • Baby food, diapers and formula
    • First aid kit
    • Water (one gallon per person per day)
    • Eating utensils
    • Tarp, rope and duct tape
    • Toiletries
    • Toilet paper
    • Battery-operated radio
    • Flashlights
    • Extra batteries
    • Extra keys
    • Extra eyeglasses or prescription information
    • Hearing aid or other special-need items
    • Important papers including insurance
    • Money, checks or credit cards
    • Name, address and telephone number of an out-of-area contact person.
    After the Hurricane
    If you are evacuated, delay your return until it is recommended or authorized by local authorities.
    • Watch out for loose or dangling power lines, and report them immediately to proper authorities. Many lives are lost through electrocution.
    • Walk or drive cautiously.
    • Debris-filled streets are dangerous.
    • Snakes and poisonous insects will be a hazard.
    • Washouts may weaken road and bridge structures which could collapse under vehicle weight.
    • Guard against spoiled food.
    • Food may spoil if refrigerator power is off more than a few hours.
    • Freezers will keep food several days if doors are not opened after power failure, but do not refreeze food once it begins to thaw.
    • Use your emergency supply or boil water before drinking until official word that the water is safe.
    • Report broken sewer or water mains to proper authorities.
    • Take extra precautions to prevent fire. Lowered water pressure in city mains and the interruption of other services may make fire fighting extremely difficult after a hurricane.

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