Hurricane Harvey: What You Need to Know NOW
You’ve heard by now that Tropical Depression/Tropical Storm/Hurricane Harvey is set to make landfall in Houston this Friday. A Tropical Storm watch was issued this afternoon, as well as a storm surge warning by the NHC (the first it’s ever issued). Governor Abbott declared a state of disaster for Harris County and 29 others near Houston and along the Texas coast. Though we don’t yet know what sort of storm exactly Harvey will be, a few things are certain: winds, rain, and flooding. As of 7:00 PM on August 23rd, the National Hurricane Center (NHC) forecasted up to 15 inches of rain in Houston with winds up to 40 miles per hour. No one can predict how severe the flooding will be, but the last time Houston got 10 inches of rain in 14 hours, roads and businesses had to close.
Hurricanes are thought to be more dangerous but it’s likely that if Harvey were to become a hurricane, it wouldn’t do much damage. It hasn’t been developing long enough to be severe. But before you heave a sigh of relief, remember: a slow-moving storm could potentially cause more damage and disruption than Hurricane Harvey. Tropical Storm Allison hit Houston 16 years ago this past June and at $5 billion in damage, it was the costliest tropical storm in history. In fact, the Houston Chronicle reports that “the storm was so fierce and destructive, the name was retired.” Last year’s flooding not only disrupted Houston for several days, it also killed 8 people.
Time To Get Ready
The City of Houston’s Emergency Operations Center recommends having:
- Food, Water, and Clothing for 3-5 days, and it’s not too late to get your laundry done
- Carriers for your pets (more on preparing pets in this article)
- Enough cash for 3-5 days
- You can also pack a duffel bag with basic necessities. Having soap, toothbrush, a first aid kid, matches, a change of clothes and shoes plus a flashlight and batteries all in one place will be handy in case of evacuation or power outage.
The City of Houston recommends knowing your evacuation zone, just in case. Coastal residents may need to evacuate, as well as anyone who lives in structures that can’t withstand the wind (trailers, for examples). See the website for evacuation details.
Stay Up To Date With the Latest News and Information
The National Hurricane Center is keeping a close eye on Harvey, so keep a close eye on their page
Houston’s Office of Emergency Management has a great guide to tropical storms and hurricanes packed with tons of valuable information as well as a Harvey-specific information page.
See their Twitter account for timely updates @HoustonOEM
Storms and hurricanes always have the potential to be destructive and deadly. Prepare your family (and pets!) as best you can. And whatever happens this weekend, remember to be extra careful on the roads. Turn around don’t drown!