As Houston enters hurricane season, what can we expect from 2021? Well, according to forecasters, it is looking like a slightly above-average season.
Houston has experienced a lot of rain and even flooding of late in a preview of what may lie ahead with a prediction of 18 named storms.
The recent rain and flooding is a genuine reminder of what any hurricane season may bring to Texas' Gulf Coast, especially this year with a prediction of 18 named storms. This includes six to 10 possible hurricanes and three to five major hurricanes. A major hurricane is considered Category 3,4 and 5, with winds ranging from 111 mph to 157 mph or even higher.
We all recall Hurricane Harvey, which hit Texas in August 2017, and that was a category 4 and will be praying that nothing of that strength makes Texas landfall this year.
How do they know it will be an above-average season?
Phil Klotzbach is a research scientist with the Department of Atmospheric Science at Colorado State University. Together with his team, they made the prediction of Houston experiencing an above-average hurricane season.
"We basically look a lot at precursor signals, so basically what sets of climate conditions preceded active seasons in the past. And alternatively which set preceded inactive seasons in the past. And looking at years in the past that conditions most similar to what we currently see and we expect to see for the peak of the season." Phil Klotzbach
How can we prepare for hurricane season?
Hurricane season can be quite stressful for people in Houston. Since 2014, there have been seven flooding events in the region, and of course, this includes Hurricane Harvey.
Harris County Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Management, Francisco Sanchez, is urging people in Houston to prepare in advance.
"This is the nature of living along the Gulf Coast. Get ready," If you can do that, you are well on your way to being part of a more resilient community." Francisco Sanchez
It is recommended for everyone to prepare a hurricane kit. The US Government ready website suggests the following:
First, assemble the items in airtight plastic bags and put your entire disaster supplies kit in one or two easy-to-carry containers such as plastic bins or a duffel bag.
A basic emergency supply kit could include the following recommended items:
- Water (one gallon per person per day for several days, for drinking and sanitation)
- Food (at least a three-day supply of non-perishable food)
- Battery-powered or hand-crank radio and an NOAA Weather Radio with tone alert
- First aid kit
- Extra batteries
- Whistle (to signal for help)
- Dust mask (to help filter contaminated air)
- Plastic sheeting and duct tape (to shelter in place)
- Moist towelettes, garbage bags, and plastic ties (for personal sanitation)
- Wrench or pliers (to turn off utilities)
- Manual can opener (for food)
- Local maps
- Cell phone with chargers and a backup battery
It is also worthwhile to prepare for a hurricane by purchasing flood insurance as home insurance doesn't cover flood damages from rising water outside a home.
Jeff Lindner, meteorologist and director of flood operations for the Harris County Flood Control District, advises doing this ASAP.
"It takes 30 days for that policy to go into effect, so it's important to get that in place now before hurricane season begins. It is renewable every year, so make sure you're renewing that." Jeff Lindner
If you haven't prepared for the hurricane season, it's advisable to do so. While we hope the forecasters get it wrong and Houston avoids any hurricanes in 2021, it is always better to be prepared.