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Texas is no stranger to hurricanes, and its southern coast has seen some of the worst hurricane impacts in history. If you live in the Lone Star State and want to get ahead of hurricane season, you’ve come to the right place. Proper planning and preparation can save lives and reduce damage.
If you’ve already sustained interior Texas hurricane damage, call the remediation specialists at All Dry USA to make your house feel like a home again.
Texas has seen a whopping 64 hurricanes striking its coast since tracking began back in 1851, for an average of one hurricane every three years. While it doesn’t get hurricanes as often as states like Florida do, Texas’ location near the Gulf of Mexico places it in a prime location to endure landfall and the far-felt impacts of several Atlantic hurricanes.
The peak threat for hurricanes along the Texas coast spans from August through September. However, hurricane season technically runs from June 1 to November 30, and hurricanes have struck Texas at least once during every month of the season.
The winds from hurricanes are no joke. You can expect sustained winds upwards of 115mph if a storm approaches. These winds can destroy buildings, and manufactured homes are at an even greater risk of destruction. Other items, such as roofing material, signs, siding, and any loose items left outdoors, are at risk of getting picked up by the wind and flown around, putting windows and anyone around them at risk.
Hurricane-force winds can extend as far as 150 miles from the center of the storm, so even if the eye is not going directly over you, there’s a good chance you’ll still feel its impacts.
Beyond sustained winds, you should also be aware of the risk of isolated gusts that may be much more powerful and pose a risk to humans, pets, and cars.
The hurricane-force wind is a threat in and of itself. However, it also creates a storm surge by pushing the water just ahead of the storm thanks to its low pressure.
As a hurricane approaches the Texas shoreline, the storm surge can create a “domed” influx of water that can be hundreds of miles wide and up to 40 feet high, though most fall within 15-20 feet. Once this ocean swell reaches the shore, it can erode beaches and take out homes and buildings, especially those on the water.
Storm surge is the most deadly risk of hurricanes and is responsible for up to 90% of all hurricane-related deaths. They can lead to large areas of flooding, structural damage or buildings completely washed away, flooded or washed-out roads, and major damage to piers, docks, boardwalks, and marinas.
Storm surges can be even worse if they hit the shoreline coinciding with high tide, creating an effect called storm tide. It can make the storm surge even taller.
Storm surges can create rip currents when winds push water away and toward the shore. The violent and fast rip current can take anything in the water, like swimmers or sand bars.
Rip currents are usually visible and look like a channel of incredibly choppy water. They produce a noticeably different color in an area of the ocean, a line of debris moving from the shore to the sea, or a break in the wave pattern.
Beyond flooding brought about by the storm surge, hurricanes can also cause inland flooding due to torrential rains across hundreds of miles of land. Floods can persist for several days after a storm has died down. This flooding from rain is the second-biggest cause of hurricane-related deaths.
Just a few inches of water inland can cause real damage. Around six inches of fast-moving water can knock over an adult and carry them away, and 12 inches of fast-moving water can catch and carry away a sedan, while 18-24 inches can carry away trucks and SUVs.
Many people think that places that experience hurricanes don’t experience tornadoes, but the two natural disasters can co-exist.
Tornadoes embedded in rainbands or thunderstorms are often a part of hurricanes. While tornadoes that occur due to hurricanes are typically weaker and shorter-lived than tornadoes that form on their own in the midwest and the central US, they’re still a real risk that Texas residents should be aware of in their preparations.
If a hurricane is heading your way in Texas, follow the four steps below to ensure you’re ready for what could happen.
The first thing to do is create a family safety plan, so everyone in your home knows what to do and where to go when the storm hits. Your plan should include the following:
Next, make sure your emergency kit isn’t missing anything essential. Create a checklist for your emergency kit with the following items:
Other optional items include portable chargers, pet care items, rain gear, and cash.
If you’re planning to ride out the storm at home, use the time before the storm to stock up on anything that might make your bunker a bit more comfortable. Make sure you have plenty of toilet paper and fill your pantry with foods that won’t go bad even if the power goes out. Add paper plates and utensils so you can eat the food. Consider getting books, cards, or puzzles to help you stay entertained.
Another great tip is to stock up on gasoline. Fill up your car’s tank and fill a few gallon gas jugs if you have them. Extra gasoline can help power generators if needed.
Stay informed as you prepare for a hurricane to hit. Check in regularly with the news or government agencies to ensure you have the latest updates and information. Things can change quickly, and if you need to pivot to an evacuation, you’ll want to know as soon as possible.
As the storm hits, follow these guidelines to ensure your safety.
Staying informed is crucial both before the storm and as it hits. If things take a turn and public officials announce your area should evacuate, you want to be ready. Keep your radio or TV on to receive emergency broadcasts.
Don’t go outside while the storm is going over your area. It can be tempting to step outside and see what’s happening for yourself, but you put yourself at risk, and it’s not worth it.
Avoid hunkering down near windows or doors, which are especially susceptible to damage from flying debris. Find an area away from doors and windows, like a hallway or closet, and stay there.
Don’t drive through flood waters even if the storm has already passed. Flood waters can flow quickly and have the potential to carry humans and even cars with them.
After a hurricane has passed, you should still exercise caution as there are still risks of flooding and damage.
Find shelter somewhere nearby if your home sustained severe damage from the hurricane. You can find a list of local hurricane shelters in Texas here.
If your home did not sustain enough damage to warrant going to a shelter, try to stay home to stay safe. Venturing out into flood waters or areas of severe damage puts you at risk of things like damaged electrical wiring, getting taken under by rapidly flowing water, and dangerous debris.
The most common types of property damage caused by Texas hurricanes are to the roof, structure, and interior.
Roof damage is usually shingles that have been lifted or blown away. High winds also can blow large branches and objects onto the roof, creating holes and other damage.
Structural damage impacts the exterior or foundation of your home, such as removing windows and doors.
Interior damage often happens as a result of roof or other structural damage. Roof damage can lead to leaks, causing interior damage to your walls, ceiling, furniture, and belongings. Structural damage may lead to flooding or unwanted water, causing water and mold damage.
Texas has been hit by 64 hurricanes since 1851, with the worst happening in Galveston in 1900.
Only two Category 5 hurricanes have ever hit Texas, the first being Hurricane Beulah in 1967 and the second being Hurricane Allen in 1980.
Florida gets more hurricanes than Texas. It is the US state hit with the most hurricanes.
If a Texas hurricane has damaged your house, don’t let it stay that way. Call your Texas hurricane experts at All Dry USA. We’ll act quickly to get your house feeling like home again. Between water damage and mold removal services and remediation, we’ll help you undo the hurricane’s damage. Call us to get started today.