KATY MAGAZINE NEWS
June 1, 2022
By Natalie Cook Clark
Hurricane season officially starts today and officials urge residents to prepare now. Gather supplies now to keep your family and property safe before a storm heads this way in what experts predict will be another “above average” season.
Photo submitted to Katy Magazine during Hurricane Harvey 2017.
As Katy grows, newcomers enjoy all the great city has to offer, but they also need to heed the warning of local officials and seasoned residents. Hurricane Season officially starts today, June 1 and experts are predicting an above average and "dangerous" season.
Local Officials, Katy Residents Urge Everyone to Prepare
“Of the 9 tropical cyclones to impact Texas since 2010, only one developed outside of the Gulf of Mexico and that one redeveloped rapidly,” says City of Katy Mayor William “Dusty” Thiele. “When these storms develop in the Gulf of Mexico it means less time to prepare for everyone. That is why it is also important that we encourage our City of Katy residents to take the time to prepare now.”
Hurricane season runs June 1 through November 30. The season has already seen one named storm. September is considered the most active month but a storm can form and strengthen at any time. The City of Katy and local agencies are prepared.
“We’ve been focused on ensuring that our City of Katy Departments are prepared to respond to any type of impact from tropical weather as safely and quickly as possible,” says Greg Goedecker, Emergency Management Coordinator of the City of Katy. “We want the community to know that our public safety departments continue to spend time training and discussing response strategies. All our city resources and rescue assets are ready to respond if called upon.”
Katy Moms Prep to Protect their Families
“This is so important to me to be prepared to care for my family and kids,” says Katy mom Chancie Davis. “With little ones in the house being prepared helps me to help them cope with stressful situations without the burden of not having essentials.”
The Davis family has a home generator to ensure that during power outages they would still be ok. During the pandemic they added to their preparedness supplies by purchasing 5-gallon collapsible water containers to be able to fill with water ahead of a storm.
“Living in Katy it’s not if, but when we will lose power of water,” says Davis. “I want to have confidence that my family is secure.”
How to Prepare
“Most of us that have lived on the coastal plain of Texas know that being prepared for seasonal storms and hurricanes are part of life,” says Wendy Duncan, President of the Board of Directors at Willow Fork Drainage District.
Katy is growing and full of newcomers to the area. Just as families find their favorite restaurants, they need to learn about the area and any potential risks.
The past several seasons have put out more dangerous and expensive storms. So many storms have developed that officials have run out of names for them. Experts believe that this season has the same makings for such disasters because of the warm gulf waters that create the perfect scenario for a monster storm to form.
“Residents can prepare by documenting and insuring property, planning with neighbors, signing up for alerts and warnings, assembling or updating supplies, strengthening their homes, or testing their family communication plans,” says Goedecker.
“I always encourage people to purchase flood insurance for your home, keep copies of important documents in a sealed plastic bag, and know the emergency resources to get official information during an event.”
Katy Government Checklist
2022 Hurricane Season Predictions
NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) is forecasting an above average 2022 Hurricane season that will likely range of 14 to 21 named storms (winds of 39 mph or higher.) They predict that 6 to 10 could become hurricanes (winds of 74 mph or higher), including 3 to 6 major hurricanes (category 3, 4 or 5; with winds of 111 mph or higher).
It is important to note that this data varies based on which report you view but all data points to an above average season.
The reason for these predictions points to the La Nina and the warm gulf waters. This will be the seventh consecutive season where predictions have been above average. Previous season have shown the predictions to be true, even though Katy has escaped many storms.
Lessons from Hurricane Harvey
However, as their website and marketing material for the season clearly states, “it only takes one storm to change your life.” A fact that Katy knows well after Hurricane Harvey devastated the area in August on 2017.
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.
The City of Katy and each county has websites/links for Emergency preparedness with resources and where residents can register to stay informed.
Here are some simple, easy tips to help prepare your family:
Build an emergency kit. Know your first aid supplies.
Refill any important medication on time to avoid running out.
Make a family communications plan. Know where to go and meet during a disaster.
Know 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.
Evacuate all pets to shelters and have vaccination records ready.
Do You Need Flood Insurance?
Katy residents should also consider flood insurance whether if they are in the flood plain or not.
“Most master planned communities, especially those built after 2009, have excellent drainage facilities to protect homes from flooding, living on the coastal plain of Texas makes it important for homeowners to have flood insurance,” says Duncan. “Hurricanes and intense seasonal rains, that can sometimes cause flash flooding, are common in our area.”
The average monthly cost of flood insurance is about $50. For more information visit FloodSmart.gov. or call your insurance provider for information. All flood insurance does go through the government and takes 30 days to go into effect.
If you are new to Katy and new to hurricanes, it is important to understand the U.S. Hurricane Seasons. The Atlantic Hurricane Season is what impacts Katy and it runs today, June 1 through November 30, with the season’s peek being in August and September.
“No one knows for sure if we will be impacted this year by a hurricane or tropical storm, but we know it only takes one to greatly impact our community,” says Mayor Thiele. “We want everyone to be prepared for that one storm if does happen to affect Katy.”