SEVERE WEATHER – DON’T BE CAUGHT BY SURPRISE
Harris County Flood Control District Advises Preparedness 365 Days a Year
The Harris County Flood Control District urges residents to take time during Southeast Texas Severe Weather Awareness Week (February 19-25) to become educated on severe weather events and to get and stay prepared.
Dangerous weather can happen at any time, but Texas history indicates that severe thunderstorms occur most often during the spring. Those storms bring the threat of flooding, lightning and tornadoes. Flooding is at the top of the list of Harris County’s natural disaster threats. In advance of each spring, the National Weather Service (NWS), the Texas Department of Public Safety, local officials and emergency managers throughout Texas work together to recognize Severe Weather Awareness Week before the spring storm season.
The Harris County Flood Control District monitors the county’s bayous and creeks year round to make sure they are free from obstructions to the flow of stormwater and in good shape to handle large amounts of rain. The Flood Control District also has several online tools that can serve as a guide to severe weather preparedness.
If the forecast calls for storms, Harris County residents can monitor rainfall amounts and bayou levels near their workplaces, schools and homes through the Flood Control District’s Flood Warning System website at www.harriscountyfws.org. Residents can input an address and “zoom” to the nearest gage station location and utilize the information it provides to prepare and take appropriate precautions during periods of heavy rain and flooding. The Flood Control District District’s Flood Warning System team constantly monitors the information and works during severe weather events to advise the public and local officials of areas that are and could be affected by flooding.
The Flood Control District has a “Family Flood Preparedness” center at http://www.hcfcd.org/famfloodprepare.html with helpful, printable resources, including:
A guide on how to create and implement a FAMILY FLOOD PREPAREDNESS PLAN and what to do before, during and after a flooding event.
A FAMILY EMERGENCY KIT checklist that includes information on how to build a first aid kit, how much water to have for family members and pets, tools that could come in handy and a helpful guide on what types of documents to store in a waterproof, portable container.
A FAMILY EMERGENCY CONTACT CARD printout – fill them out, give one to each family member and keep them close at all times.
A “REPAIRING YOUR FLOODED HOME” guide (by the Federal Emergency Management Agency and American Red Cross) that provides vital step-by-step information on how to clean up, rebuild and get help after a flood.
A “TURN AROUND, DON’T DROWN” brochure (by the National Weather Service) that advises all residents to stay out of flooded roadways and waterways.
Information about the importance of having FLOOD INSURANCE.
The Flood Control District recommends that all property owners in Harris County have flood insurance.
Given our area’s flat topography and clay soils, all Harris County residents are at risk for flooding to varying degrees and should do their part to protect their families and property by creating a family preparedness plan, purchasing flood insurance from the National Flood Insurance Program, and staying put during a flood unless a life is threatened.
Just an inch of water inside a home or business can cause thousands of dollars in damages. Many who have experienced flooding in the past did not realize until too late that flood insurance was not included in their standard homeowner's policy. A separate flood insurance policy must be purchased to cover damages from flooding, including both contents and structure.
Contact your insurance agent for more information about purchasing flood insurance, or visit the National Flood Insurance Program at www.floodsmart.gov or call 1-888-379-9531.
The National Weather Service has released a guide to the dangers and impacts of severe weather that can be viewed or downloaded at http://www.srh.noaa.gov/images/hgx/severeweatherawareness/swa2011.pdf.
ABOUT THE HARRIS COUNTY FLOOD CONTROL DISTRICT: The Harris County Flood Control District provides projects that reduce flooding risks and damages from bayous and creeks, with appropriate regard for community and natural values. With more than 1,500 bayous and creeks totaling approximately 2,500 miles in length, the Flood Control District accomplishes its mission by devising flood damage reduction plans, implementing the plans and maintaining the infrastructure. To learn more about the Flood Control District, visit www.hcfcd.org.