The thought of a natural disaster like a hurricane or tornado wreaking havoc on your Texas home can be nerve-wracking and downright frightening. While you can’t control the weather, you can prepare for it.
The good news is that you can protect your home with emergency preparedness planning.
Our guide covers all the information you need to stay safe in various natural disasters.
If damage has already struck, don’t hesitate. Contact All Dry USA today to mitigate risks and restore your home.
Does Texas Have Natural Disasters?
Fires, hurricanes, tornadoes, earthquakes, wildfires, extreme heat, landslides—these and other natural disasters are common in Texas. According to US News, Texas is most prone to natural disasters. A big reason has to do with its geographical makeup.
From hurricanes along the Gulf Coast to earthquakes across the land and tornadoes in the Panhandle, Texas sees more natural disasters than any other state. Between 1953 to 2022, Texas has received 371 disasters. Here’s a breakdown of the types of disasters in recent history:
- 258 wildfires
- 40 floods
- 26 tropical storms
- 20 severe storms
- 15 tornadoes
- 5 other disasters (extreme heat, landslides, earthquakes, etc.)
- 5 winter weather
Hurricanes are large swirling storms formed from warm ocean waters producing 74 mph or higher winds. These high-speed winds can damage trees and buildings. When a hurricane hits land, it throws a wall of ocean water ashore, causing a massive storm surge and flooding.
- Secure your property by boarding up your windows and installing storm shutters.
- Gather emergency supplies such as emergency power sources, food and water, and medicine supply.
- Listen to the National Weather Service alerts on the radio or TV.
- Prepare your car by filling up the gas tank and keeping an emergency kit in your vehicle.
- Know your evacuation route by researching shelter spaces.
- Turn off any propane tanks.
- Be ready to switch off your power.
- Monitor your TV or radio for updated information.
- Follow the directions of the local government.
- Check in with your family and friends, so they know your location.
- When hurricanes arrive, stay indoors and clear from doors, windows, and other areas prone to damage.
- Have your emergency kits easily accessible
- Turn off electricity to avoid fire and other hazards
Floods occur when water overflows areas that are usually dry. They can be several inches high or bring enough water to cover a house’s roof. The most common situations that lead to flooding are heavy rainfall, dams breaking, melting snow and ice, and ocean waves coming onto shore like a storm surge.
- Board up windows on the first level and basement.
- Assess your flood risk by looking up your address in the Flood Map Service Center.
- Take photos and videos of household items and valuables. These are essential records for filing insurance claims.
- Consider getting flood insurance.
- Buy sandbags to prevent floodwaters from getting into your home.
- Create an emergency supply kit.
- Get to higher ground, if possible, since flash floods can sweep you away.
- Unplug all electronics to prevent water damage.
- Stay away from flooded areas and downed power lines.
- Keep your pets with you.
- Wear a life jacket.
Wildfires are uncontrollable fires that burn in wildland vegetation, typically in rural areas. They often burn in savannas, grasslands, forests, and other ecosystems. They spread rapidly and generate dangerous smoke, threatening lives and nearby properties.
- Keep flammable items like dry logs and propane tanks away from your home.
- Stay tuned to the news to receive the latest wildfire updates.
- Prepare your emergency kit, including food, water, important documents, cash, a first aid kit, respirator masks, sleeping bags, and other essential items.
- Set up hoses and ladders.
- Prepare for evacuation and have a plan of where to go.
- Use fire-resistant materials to cover the roof.
- Arrange to stay at a relative’s or friend’s house.
- Wear protective clothing when outside.
- Close the outside attic, doors, windows, and vents.
- Shut off all-natural gas, fuel oil, and propane supplies.
- Place lawn sprinklers on the roof and leave them on.
- Check with your water provider to ensure your water supply is safe.
A tornado is a funnel-shaped cloud that travels on the ground with whirling high-speed winds of 75 to 300 miles an hour. It can travel for 50 miles and can measure up to one mile in width. It often changes direction erratically, making the path hard to predict.
- Prepare a safe place to take shelter.
- Practice your emergency plan.
- Know the telltale signs of a tornado.
- Tune into your local TV and radio stations and the NOAA weather radio.
- Pack water, food, first aid kits, medication, a bug-out kit, waterproof clothing, blankets and pillows, a toilet kit, a radio, essential documents, and extra supplies in your tornado shelter.
- Head to your planned shelter immediately.
- Continue to follow alerts from the television news and local radio.
- Help alert your community members by reporting tornado sightings to your local media.
- If you’re driving, stop and get out of the car. Then find the lowest spot, such as a ditch, and lie on the ground.
- Switch off utilities.
Thunderstorms are violent storms that produce lightning, sometimes accompanied by other natural disasters like tornadoes, hail, strong winds, and flash floods. Lighting typically strikes during heavy rainfall and within 10 miles of the rainfall.
- Make a disaster plan with your family members.
- Prune your landscape, such as trees and bushes, regularly.
- Have a plan to store outdoor objects like patio furniture, smokers, and grilles to prevent them from flying and damaging your home.
- Watch the local forecast.
- Stock your home for emergencies like medication, water, batteries, personal hygiene items, and food.
- When the thunder roars, stay indoors.
- Pay attention to warnings and alerts.
- Avoid running water.
- Don’t use electronic devices connected to an outlet.
- Unplug appliances.
- Seek shelters, such as an interior room away from doors and windows.
Winter storms can bring freezing rain, blizzards, high winds, and extreme cold. These conditions can lead to frostbite or hypothermia, where your body drops below a healthy temperature, and your skin sustains damage from freezing. Additionally, freezing rain can create layers of ice on roads, making it dangerous for travel.
- Weatherproof your home by insulating walls, doors, windows, and water lines to prevent freezing.
- Get annual chimney inspections.
- Install a battery-operated carbon monoxide detector and smoke detector.
- Keep a thermometer in your home.
- Create an emergency car kit.
- Listen to the TV or radio for weather updates.
- Travel only when necessary.
- Remain indoors or dress in layered and wind-resistant clothing if you must go out.
- If you’re driving, stay in the vehicle.
- If you’re outside, find shelter nearby to stay dry.
Extreme heat is a period of humidity and high heat with temperatures above 90 degrees for longer than two days. It can cause heat-related illnesses such as heat stroke, where the body can’t properly cool itself.
- Know the symptoms of heatstroke.
- Build an emergency kit.
- Get trained in first aid so that you can treat heat-related emergencies.
- Access the risk of a prolonged heat wave in your area.
- Keep your AC system properly maintained, such as changing filters regularly.
- Stay hydrated, drink lots of water and avoid caffeine and alcohol.
- Eat light and fresh foods with high water content.
- Keep your home cool.
- Go to air-conditioned places.
- Don’t leave anyone in the car.
How to Prepare for Natural Disasters in Texas
Natural disasters devastate families’ livelihoods and damage thousands of properties. Preparing to protect yourself and your family and knowing the risks is imperative. Recognizing the impending disaster and knowing how to protect yourself will help you take effective action to prepare and aid recovery. Protecting your property is just as crucial as preventing thousands of dollars in losses.
Some steps to prepare for the unexpected include developing an emergency plan, assembling a supply kit, and knowing the nearby local shelters. Each emergency is unique, and understanding the actions to take for each disaster will impact your preparation.
Make a Disaster Plan
Natural disasters like floods, wildfires, and hurricanes may force you to evacuate. Evacuation plans require procedures to get you and your family to a safe place. Your evacuation plan should address issues such as:
- Evacuation routes
- Chains of command that assign roles and responsibilities
- Conditions that make the evacuation necessary
- Channels of communication with family and community members
- A designated shelter with access to utility and other basic necessities
Walk through your home to identify multiple exits out of each room. If doors and windows are blocked, clear the way so that you can open them for an exit. Consider equipping your bedrooms with escape ladders to provide safe evacuation routes.
Dedicate a family member to assist with evacuating infants, the elderly, small children, pets, and those with disabilities to the shelter. Keep a map on hand, so you can still navigate if your phone runs out of battery or signal.
Assign ways to communicate with the group if ever separated during a disaster. Have everyone carry each person’s name and phone number in their wallet, backpack, or purse at all times. You can use a satellite phone for emergencies. They connect to orbiting satellites, which will work when local landlines are down.
Communicating with Local Officials
Communicating with emergency personnel is vital, especially when someone gets hurt in an accident. Many cell phones, like the iPhone, have an emergency SOS call button, which automatically calls the local emergency officials. It’ll typically call the police, fire department, or ambulance to help.
Protect Your Property
Your property is a valuable asset you want to protect during times of emergency. Sign up for a flood insurance policy or check if your existing homeowner insurance policy covers flood damage. Also, make sure to declutter gutters and drains and board windows and doors to prevent broken glass from flying around.
Create a Disaster Supplies Kit
Preparation requires gathering the proper supplies to weather a disaster or emergency. Keep your supplies in an easy-to-carry disaster supply kit to use at home or to grab during evacuation. A disaster supply kit should contain necessities to survive and protect against potential hazards.
- Water: Store at least one gallon of water for each person per day for sanitation and drinking. Keep the water in a commercially bottled water or food-grade water storage container.
- Food: Each household member should have a three-day supply of nonperishable food that doesn’t require cooking, water, refrigeration, or special preparation. Include ready-to-eat canned meats, vegetables, fruits, protein bars, nuts, and dried fruits.
- First aid kit: It’s crucial to provide immediate care to an injured friend or family member. Stock antibiotic ointments, medical supplies, over-the-counter medications, sterile gloves, prescribed medication, adhesive bandages, and a thermometer.
- Clean Air: Pack mouth and nose protection masks, duct tape, and plastic sheeting. This equipment helps to filter the air you’re breathing when the air is polluted with contamination, which is common among wildfires.
- Pet supplies: Have enough supplies to keep your pet alive and comfortable such as food, water, toys, and bedding.
- Local maps: When you need to evacuate but don’t have access to the internet or power, you’ll need to rely on a physical map to make your way to safety.
- Hand-cranked or battery-powered radio: A radio allows you to receive real-time disaster updates and be alerted about potential safety risks.
- Manual can opener: You’ll need a can opener to open your canned food.
Frequently Asked Questions
Below are the most commonly asked questions about natural disasters in Texas.
What Part of Texas Has the Most Natural Disasters?
Houston and Austin are the Texas metropolitan cities most prone to natural disasters. Texas is geographically the second-largest state in the country. With a much greater land mass than in other states, natural disasters are more likely.
What Is the Biggest Natural Disaster in Texas’ History?
Texas has endured some of the most horrific disasters in history. However, none was more devastating than the infamous Hurricane that struck the Galveston Shores on September 8, 1900. This Category 4 storm hurricane had 145 mph winds and killed 8,000 to 12,000 people.
Suffering From Natural Disaster Damage in Texas? ADU Can Help
Natural disasters are terrifying, but you can prepare your home and develop a detailed plan for common disasters in Texas. Emergency and preparation plans help you survive when the unexpected strikes.
If disaster does hit, All Dry USA is here to help. Our experts help with mold remediation, water damage, and more. The longer you wait, the worse it’ll get. Call today to speak with an expert to help you get immediate recovery.