HOUSTON - The “Houston Hide from the Wind” website, which was a key tool in helping residents determine expected wind speeds during Hurricane Ike, has been redesigned and expanded to include 13 counties in the greater Houston area.
The expansion of Houston Hide from the Wind was funded by the Regional Catastrophic Preparedness Grant Program (RCPGP) of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.
The site uses forecasts from the National Hurricane Center to help depict, in real-time, the anticipated effects of wind during a tropical system impact in southeast Texas. The over 6 million residents of the greater Houston region can also view active hurricane evacuation zones, anticipated wind speeds by zip codes, and data from past storms to help them compare the anticipated wind speed to the recent hurricane impacts. Web Site Screenshot
When no storm is forecasted to impact the region, the site displays information from a simulated storm for demonstration purposes.
"When residents know a realistic level of threat, they are more likely to take the appropriate action to keep themselves and their families safe," said Carl Matejka, the City of Houston’s Emergency Management Coordinator, "Many times, that may mean that those living outside of a storm surge area should stay put until after the storm passes. Houston Hide From the Wind has demonstrated success in helping residents determine what to expect when hurricanes strike."
This enhanced regional effort now allows residents in Austin, Brazoria, Chambers, Colorado, Fort Bend, Galveston, Harris, Liberty, Matagorda, Montgomery, Walker, Waller and Wharton Counties visualize their level of wind threat during a storm.
"Multiple governments came together to help bring this important tool to the entire 13-county region," said Mel Bartis, the Regional Planning Coordinator for RCPGP, "This project really shows how the cities and counties in the Houston region continue to innovate, and collaborate to improve tools that help keep our communities safe."
The site's intent is to encourage residents who live outside of those areas with storm surge threat to make plans to shelter-in-place during hurricanes and tropical storms, freeing up evacuation routes for coastal residents with a higher level of threat from storm surge.
Residents can visit HoustonHideFromTheWind.org to see the new layout, and see historical storm data from Ike and other storms.