2 A Message from KPRC Channel 2 Chief Meteorologist Frank Billingsley A question I keep hearing is "What happened to all the hurricanes?" Well, it is true that we haven't seen many in the Atlantic over the past few years. But let me draw an analogy. At one time or another, we've all had a flat tire on our car. If you haven't had a flat tire in years, however, would it make sense to think that you'll never get another flat tire again? Would you think to take the spare tire out of your car, believing you'll never need to use it in the future? Probably not. More than likely, you'd keep the spare tire on hand, just in case! Think of a potential hurricane disaster the same way. We haven't had to deal with one in years, but it's only a matter of time before another one strikes! As we move into the 2015 Hurricane season, despite an early Subtropical Storm Ana along the East Coast, a lot of predictions will be for a "quiet" season. Cooler Atlantic ocean waters and strong El Nino winds that tear storms apart are factors for these forecasts. But keep two things in mind. One, quiet doesn't mean silent. Even quiet babies still cry. Two, none of the 201 forecasts talk much about WHO exactly will get hit. Obviously, the fewer the storms, the fewer the cities that will be impacted. But, if we are the one impacted, then the season will be far from quiet for us. Alright, enough about complacency. You wouldn't be reading this if you were not concerned about the hurricane threat to southeast Texas, so let's talk about what you need to do to prepare. First, find a source you trust, like Channel 2! There will be a lot of Facebook forecasters and Twitter tropical experts out there who may or may not have reliable information, but in a hurricane emergency, trust that we will have not only the forecast, but evacuation routes, business and school closures, directives from government, and information on how to stay safe before, during and after a storm. You can count on us. Second, have a plan for you and your family. If you have to evacuate, where will you go and what will you take with you? Will your shelter take pets? Are your insurance papers and pictures with you? Can you prove later that you own or rent in an affected area so that you'll be allowed back in after the storm? If you choose to hunker down, do you have the right supplies and enough supplies to last three days? If you weather the storm in place and then leave after the storm, where will you go? Thinking about some of these questions ahead of time will make executing your plans easier during an emergency. Lastly, know your neighbors. We all need to look out for each other. After all, they may have that spare tire that you now need! We include a lot of information in this guide and I thank you for taking the time to read it. If you have any questions, just ask. After all, we are Facebook forecasters and Twitter tropical experts, too! IMPORTANT: If you have special needs If you are physically or mentally disabled, dependent on special medical equipment, have transportation needs or are faced with some other circumstance that will make hurricane evacuation difficult, you can pre-register with the City of Houston s Office of Emergency Management. Registration is free and voluntary and will enable emergency providers to reach those who need help. To pre-register call 211 from anywhere in the state of Texas.
3 Weather Terms To Know Hurricane: A cyclonic (counter-clockwise) circulation with sustained winds of 74 mph or greater. Emergency Numbers Fill in BEFORE hurricanes strike Hurricane advisory: An early warning system from the National Hurricane Center that will prepare you for a hurricane strike well in advance of hurricane watches and warnings. Hurricane warning: This means that the storm has a great likelihood of directly affecting your area in 36 hours or less. Hurricane watch: This means potential danger within 48 hours. Plan your time now. Law enforcement Doctors Veterinarian Electrical provider Gas company Telephone service Storm surge: An abnormal rise in sea level accompanying a hurricane or other intense storm, and whose height is the difference between the observed level of the sea surface and the level that would have occurred in the absence of the cyclone. Storm surge is usually estimated by subtracting the normal or astronomic high tide from the observed storm tide. Storm tide: A combination of the storm surge and the normal tide. Tropical depression: A cyclonic circulation with sustained winds up to 38 mph. Tropical disturbance: A disturbed area of thunderstorms, tropical in origin, which is evident for 24 hours or more. Tropical storm: A cyclonic circulation with sustained winds of 39 mph to 73 mph. Cellular service Cable service Insurance Other 2015 Atlantic Hurricane Names Ana Bill Claudette Danny Erika Fred Henry Ida Joaquin Kate Larry Mindy Odette Peter Rose Sam Teresa Victor Grace Nicholas Wanda
4 Before Hurricane Season Begins Download the KPRC Channel 2 Hurricane App. or pick up a Hurricane Survival Guide at your local H-E-B. Stock up on nonperishable foods, drinking water, batteries, diapers and formula for infants and pet food for animals. See supplies lists on the next page. Know your evacuation route, where you would go and how you would get there. If you re disabled or have transportation problems, see IMPORTANT highlighted information on page 1. Fill out your emergency numbers on map page of this guide and keep them close by. Create an emergency communication list in case you are separated from family and friends. Include home, work, school and cell numbers and exchange lists with family, friends and neighbors. Keep lists at home, at work and in your cars. Also, designate a contact person who lives outside the area for everyone to reach in case of evacuation. Keep cash on hand. Banks may close and ATMs may be inoperable during a storm. Make sure you have enough prescription medicines to outlast a storm and its aftermath. Refill your first-aid kit. Decide where to take pets, boats and travel trailers if you cannot take them with you. Pets are not allowed in many public shelters. Keep a list of pet-friendly places hotels and motels, friends, boarding facilities or veterinarians and phone numbers. Check all battery-powered equipment. Emergency cooking facilities and lights will be essential if utilities are interrupted. Charge all mobile devices. Charge up or check camera batteries. You may need to take photos of storm damage. Make sure smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors are working properly. Take inventory of your valuables and your home. Make a videotape, take photos or keep a written log. Double-check your insurance coverage: 1. Hurricane coverage If you want it, you need to get it now because you cannot get it once a storm enters the Gulf. 2. Flood insurance If your insurance company doesn t offer it, the federal government does, but it will not go into effect until 30 days after you ve paid for it. 3. National Flood insurance Program Get information at floodsmart.gov or call to find an agent near you. If you have a generator, test-run it with a load to make sure it functions properly. Continue test-runs monthly throughout hurricane season to ensure that it will be in good working order if it s needed. Trim the trees and shrubs around your home. Make sure any dead branches are removed. Make sure gutters and downspouts are properly secured and unclogged. Tie down young trees to prevent uprooting in the event of strong winds.
5 When a Hurricane Threatens Store drinking water in any clean containers bathtubs, bottles, pots, etc., as the water supply may become contaminated. Secure outdoor objects that may blow away or move them inside the house or garage. Fuel up your car. You may need to evacuate quickly and/or sit in traffic for hours. Service stations may also become inoperable. Secure homes and buildings by boarding up each window. Tape is not adequate. Moor your boat securely or move it to a designated safe place. If in a mobile home, check tie-downs and evacuate. Historically, manufactured homes suffer the greatest amount of damage during hurricanes. Move valuables, personal papers, family photos and important computer disks to a waterproof container on the highest level of your home or pack them to take with you. Turn off utilities if told to do so by authorities. Unplug small appliances. Turn off propane tanks. If You Have To Evacuate Make sure your gas tank is full. Prepare your vehicle for what could be a very long ride. Stock your vehicle with necessities such as water, food, pillows and blankets, toiletries, current maps, baby supplies, pet supplies, prescription medicines, flashlights and extra batteries and cash. Bring proper identification and proof of residency your driver s license, a utility bill or rent receipt in case you will need Red Cross or FEMA assistance. Bring copies of key papers, such as insurance policies. During a Hurricane Stay away from windows, skylights and glass doors, even if they are boarded or covered. Stay on the floor that is least likely to be affected by strong winds and floodwaters. A small interior room without windows on the first floor is usually the safest place. Beware of the eye of the hurricane. If the calm storm center passes directly overhead, there will be a lull in the wind that can last up to half an hour. Winds will rise again to hurricane force.
6 After a Hurricane If forced into a public shelter, stay until told by local officials it s safe to return to your home. Watch KPRC Channel 2 News, log on to click2houston.com or the KPRC Channel 2 Hurricane App for advice and instructions about emergency medical, food and housing aid, and other forms of assistance. Do not drive unless it is absolutely necessary. Do not drink or prepare food with tap water until you are certain it s not contaminated. If you smell gas, leave your house and call your gas supplier. If structural damage has occurred to your home, turn off your utilities. Do not use electrical appliances that have water damage until they ve been checked by a professional. Your water supply may be contaminated, so check with local authorities or have your well water tested before using it straight from the tap. Until then, boil your water for at least one minute to disinfect it before using it for drinking or cooking. Throw away any food items that you think may be spoiled or that may have come in contact with flood waters. Look for electrical system damage. Stay away from loose or dangling wires or power lines. Check for sewage and water line damage. Watch out for displaced animals, especially poisonous snakes that may have come into buildings with floodwaters. Watch for loose plaster, drywall and ceilings that could fall. Take photos of any damage, both of buildings and their contents, for insurance claims. Make minor repairs to prevent further damage or looting, but do not make major repairs or dispose of damaged property until it has been inspected by an adjuster. Save all receipts. If your power has gone out, open refrigerators and freezers only when necessary. A freezer without power can keep food in satisfactory condition up to 48 hours if it is kept closed. Wrapping a freezer in blankets will help insulate it. Open windows and doors to ventilate and dry your home. Avoid disaster areas; stay away from floodwaters, flooded roads and washed-out bridges. Stay away from river banks, bayous and streams until all potential flooding has passed. Stay alert for extended rainfall and subsequent flooding, even after the storm has passed. Call your insurance company if you have vehicle or property damage to report.
7 Supplies To Have On Hand Battery-powered radio or television Flashlights Extra batteries NOAA All Hazards Radio Extra set of car keys 1 gallon of water per person per day for 14 days Car charger for your cell phone Three-day supply of canned food Manual can opener Plastic plates, cups, and utensils First-aid kit and first-aid manual Matches in a waterproof container Map of the area and phone numbers of places you could go Pet Supplies Medications, medical records and a first-aid kit in a waterproof container. Leashes, harnesses and/or carriers (Pets may bite or try to run away while stressed.) Secure collars with up-to-date information. If you are evacuating to a shelter or other location, attach the phone number and location of your temporary address to the back of your pet s ID tags with temporary tags or adhesive tape and indelible ink. Current photos in case pets are lost. Food, water, bowls, cat litter pan and manual can opener. Information on feeding schedules, medical conditions, behavior problems and the name and number of your veterinarian in case you have to foster or board your pets. Pet beds and toys if easily transportable. Signal flare Credit card and cash Personal hygiene items, including tooth brushes, toothpaste, soaps, hand sanitizer, paper towels, toilet paper, baby wipes, and vision care products. Garbage bags Personal identification Pet carriers and other supplies Sentimental photos, albums and important papers Games, books, and puzzles.
8 When In Doubt... Throw It Out Meat, poultry, fish and eggs should be kept refrigerated at or below 40 degrees Fahrenheit and frozen food at or below zero degrees. When the power goes out, the refrigerator will keep food safely cold for about four hours if unopened, according to the USDA. A full freezer will maintain the temperature for about 48 hours (24 hours if half full) if the door is not opened. Most recommendations on whether food is still safe to use are based on the temperature inside the refrigerator using a digital, dial or other type of thermometer. These recommendations are for food that has been in a refrigerator above 40 degrees for more than two hours. The Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale* The Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale is a 1-5 rating based on the hurricane s present intensity. This is used to give an estimate of the potential property damage expected along the coast from a hurricane landfall. Wind speed is the determining factor in the scale. Note that all winds are using the U.S. one minute average. Category 1 Hurricane: Winds mph (64-82 kt or km/hr). No real damage to building structures. Damage primarily to unanchored mobile homes, shrubbery and trees. Some damage to poorly constructed signs. Category 2 Hurricane: Winds mph (83-95 kt or km/hr). Some roofing material, door and window damage of buildings. Considerable damage to shrubbery and trees with some trees blown down. Considerable damage to mobile homes, poorly constructed signs and piers. Category 3 Hurricane: Winds mph ( kt or km/hr). Some structural damage to small residences and utility buildings with a minor amount of curtainwall failures. Damage to shrubbery and trees, with foliage blown off trees and large trees blown down. Mobile homes and poorly constructed signs are destroyed. Low-lying escape routes are cut by rising water 3-5 hours before arrival of the center of the hurricane. Flooding near the coast destroys smaller structures with larger structures damaged by battering from floating debris. Category 4 Hurricane: Winds mph ( kt or km/hr). More extensive curtainwall failures with some complete roof structure failures on small residences. Shrubs, trees, and all signs are blown down. Complete destruction of mobile homes. Extensive damage to doors and windows. Category 5 Hurricane: Winds greater than 156 mph (137 kt or 252 km/hr). Complete roof failure on many residences and industrial buildings. Some complete building failures with small utility buildings blown over or away. All shrubs, trees, and signs blown down. Complete destruction of mobile homes. Severe and extensive window and door damage. * From the National Hurricane Center of the National Weather Service.
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