KATY MAGAZINE NEWS
May 29, 2020
By Natalie Cook Clark
Hurricane season officially starts June 1 and the Atlantic has already named two storm systems. Experts predict an above average storm season with several major named storms projected to threaten the Texas coast. Now is the time to prepare for hurricane season even as many residents still struggle with the ongoing pandemic.
Above Average Hurricane Season Predicted
Forecasters for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) predict an above average 2020 Atlantic hurricane season. The season official starts Monday, June 1 and two named tropical storms have already been named.
The Climate Prediction Center with NOAA is forecasting 13-19 named storms with winds 39 mph or higher. Of that count, they predict 6-10 could become major hurricanes with winds 74 mph or higher. 3-6 of those hurricanes are predicted to become major category 3, 4, or 5 storms delivering winds of 111 mph or higher.
NOAA shared this information with a 70% confidence. To put this in perspective, an average hurricane season produces 12 named storms with 6 becoming hurricanes, and of that only 3 major hurricanes.
Last season resulted in 18 named storms with 6 hurricanes.
Financial Strains Add to the Perfect Storm
With so many families experiencing financial strain due to the pandemic, authorities are concerned if people will take proper precautions for the upcoming hurricane season. Texas just hit a new unemployment record at 12.8%. This shattered the previous record of 9.2% in 1986.
Houston/Galveston 2020 Hurricane Presentation
Since the coronavirus pandemic has limited in-person town hall meetings, Dan Reilly, Warning Coordination Meteorologist with National Weather Service Houston/Galveston, has published a presentation on the 2020 hurricane forecast and how it compares to last season. See the presentation below:
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.
Katy residents need to prepare their families and homes in case a dangerous storm targets the area again.
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.
“The best preparation a homeowner can do for hurricane season is to buy flood insurance,” advises Wendy Duncan, the Assistant Vice President, Board of Directors, of Willow Fork Drainage District. “We live on a coastal plain prone to intense rains in flat conditions which creates the perfect environment for flash flooding.”
Homeowners should confirm they have flood insurance, while renters can get flood insurance for contents. All flood insurance goes through FEMA but can be arranged by contacting your home insurance provider. After adding flood insurance, there is a 30-day period until it goes into effect.
"What we experienced in the Tax Day flood and especially Harvey was a God event that I hope never happens again," says City of Katy Mayor Bill Hastings.
Now is the time to prepare. Hurricane season runs June 1- November 30.