Eighty-seven years. That’s how long it has been since two hurricanes were in the Gulf of Mexico at the same time. The year was 1933, and a powerful category 3 storm called “Hurricane 8” slammed into South Texas, while a less catastrophic cat 1 storm called “Hurricane 11” came ashore in Florida a few hours later. Today, all eyes are on the Gulf of Mexico once again as two more powerful named storms are threatening to make landfall within hours of one another. Thankfully, it doesn’t appear that Houstonians will experience the worst of either of these weather events. Nevertheless, while our attention is focused on the situation in the gulf, it’s worthwhile to review general preparedness guidelines:
Stock up on non-perishable food items, and other emergency equipment items. Have plenty of bottled water (the recommended allowance is one gallon/per person/per day, for up to three days). Ensure you have batteries on-hand to operate flashlights in case of utility outages. Inventory first-aid and medical provisions, and ensure your generator (if you have one) is in good working order.
Act quickly to “batten down the hatches” and secure outdoor items which could become projectiles in high winds. Clear gutters of leaf debris, trim dangerous branches which could damage your roof and become fall hazards, and reinforce windows and doors if vulnerable to breakage.
Formulate an evacuation plan. If you must evacuate, know where you’re going and allow yourself plenty of time to get there. Identify shelters in your area that may have room for you, if you don’t have friends or family that you can reach in time. Listen to local authorities for road closures and emergency instructions. Fill your gas tank early and please, do not forget your pets!
Examine your personal insurance policies to determine if you are adequately protected against flood and/or wind damage. Most homeowners’ insurance policies do not cover flood damage. Only flood insurance covers the cost of rebuilding after a flood, and it is worth every penny. Most insurers require a 30-day waiting period to bind a flood policy, so plan ahead!
Even as Marco & Laura threaten to destroy, you can have peace of mind in the midst of the storm with a little advance thought and preparation.