KATY MAGAZINE NEWS
May 26, 2019
By Natalie Cook Clark
As Katy families continue to recover from Hurricane Harvey that rocked the city during the 2017 hurricane season, city officials prepare for this year's Hurricane Season that officially begins June 1. See how the city is preparing and what you can do to be ready when and if a hurricane bears down on Katy again.
Lessons from Harvey
13 million people were affected by Hurricane Harvey when it stalled out over the Greater Houston area late August of 2017. The storm was one of the most devastating natural disasters in Texas history.
The City of Katy experienced massive damage including sustained damage to 16 Katy ISD campuses. Due to extreme flooding, Creech Elementary had to relocate its 900 students and staff had to be relocated. In less than a week, Katy ISD moved the Creech students and staff to the University of Houston’s Cinco Ranch campus.
How Katy is Prepping for 2019's Hurricane Season
Flooding has been at the forefront of meetings that newly sworn in Katy Mayor Bill Hastings has been addressing. "Regarding flooding, we are more prepared now than before but we have to continue to work with and address the flood retention in the north. This cannot happen overnight," explains Hastings.
Katy learned from the devastation that resulted from Harvey, and systems and plans have been put in place to ensure the town and support resources are even more prepared if another storm strikes. Precautions are being made on federal, regional and local levels.
The City of Katy is working with Congressman McCaul to expand the $65 plus million to build a third reservoir in the Katy/Cypress area. This would capture flooding from the Cypress Creek watershed.
The City of Katy is working with Brookshire Katy Drainage District and surrounding counties for large scale regional improvements, channel improvements and regional detention.
Voters approved a $19.5 million bond to fix local drainage. $14.5 million will go to improving streets while $5 million is designated to improve the sewer plant. Work has already been completed at the First Street bridge at Katy Hockley Road/ Avenue D.
Improved Emergency Services
Local authorities have also improved emergency services and response. This includes the purchase of new emergency response vehicles that are better suited for accessing flooded areas.
The city also has a Continuity of Operations (COOP) plan in place that ensures all departments are prepared and capable of responding quickly to multiple levels of emergencies. The Emergency Operations Center (EOC) is set up at the police station and ready to act as needed.
Communication during any emergency situation is vital. The city has evaluated and improved telecommunication systems for first responders and city government to more effectively communicate information to the public.
Register for Reverse 9-1-1
Residents can register for the Reverse 9-1-1 messaging system. If you have a registered landline or mobile phone then you are automatically connected. Authorities can send messages, via this system, out to the public to keep everyone informed. To register a mobile phone visit www.911.org.
Tips for your Home
This is what Katy is doing to prepare for this year's Hurricane Season. Here are some simple, easy tips to follow at home to help prepare your family.
Build an emergency kit.
Refill any important medication on time to avoid running out.
Make a family communications plan.
Know you’re the routes you need to leave your home (evacuation routes). Locate your local emergency shelters.
Closely watch/listen to the weather reports. Listening every hour as the storm nears.
Put fuel in all vehicles and withdraw some cash from the bank. Gas stations and ATMs may be closed after a hurricane.
If authorities ask you to leave, do so quickly.
If you leave (evacuate), be alert to flooded or washed-out roads. Just a few inches of water can float a car. Think: Turn Around, Don’t Drown.
Keep a photo I.D. that shows your home address. You will need it when asking police if it is okay for you to re-enter your area or home.
Secure your property.
Residents should also follow up and ensure they have flood insurance. Remember that renters can get flood insurance for contents. All flood insurance goes through FEMA but can be arranged by contacting your home insurance provider. When you add flood insurance there is a 30 day period until it is active.
"What we experienced in the Tax Day flood and especially Harvey was a God event that I hope never happens again," says Mayor Hastings.