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Congressman Jodey Arrington

Representing the 19th District of Texas

Important Information from FEMA on Hurricane Harvey

August 25, 2017
Blog Post

FEMA recommends visitors and residents in areas potentially affected by Hurricane Harvey take the following actions:

If the storm is expected to affect your area, know your evacuation zone and follow the direction of state, local or tribal officials if an evacuation is ordered for your area. Storm surge poses a significant threat for drowning and can sometimes cut off evacuation routes, so do not delay leaving if an evacuation is ordered for your area.

Monitor local radio or TV stations for updated emergency information, and follow the instructions of state, local, and tribal officials.

There is the potential for flooding and storm surge with Hurricane Harvey. Driving through a flooded area can be extremely hazardous. Nearly half of all flash flood deaths happen in vehicles. Stay safe when in your car by watching for flooding in low lying areas, at bridges and highway dips. As little as six inches of water may cause you to lose control of your vehicle. If you encounter floodwaters, remember – turn around, don’t drown.

Download the FEMA mobile app (available in English and Spanish), which provides a customizable checklist of emergency supplies, directions to open shelters and recovery centers, disaster survival tips, and weather alerts from the National Weather Service. The app also enables users to receive push notifications reminding them to take important steps to prepare their homes and families for disasters.

Businesses of all sizes should prepare in advance for the approaching storm to prevent loss of life, property, or disruption to operations. Businesses can review and update their business continuity plans and ensure their workforce knows what to do before and during the storm. Resources are available on web sites such as and the

Visit or to learn more about preparing for hurricanes and severe weather.


CLICK HERE for local school closings

CLICK HERE for Shelters around the area.

Red Cross' Hurricane Safety and Checklist

Center for Disease Control Hurricane Center

National Hurricane Center

Red Cross evacuation routes by county - Texas Department of Transportation evacuation routes - FEMA hurricane website

Is your family prepared?

Hurricane Season runs from June 1st until November 30th. 

Being prepared is important for every family and business. That means having a hurricane safety plan, because it is never if a hurricane will hit Texas, but when.

The hurricane experts at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration are predicting an above normal Atlantic hurricane season, with the formation of 11-17 named storms, including nine to nine hurricanes that could threaten the U.S. coastline or the Caribbean. Two to four hurricanes are expected to be "major" with sustained winds of at least 111 mph.

Expected warmer-than-average waters across the tropical Atlantic Ocean and Caribbean Sea, weaker-than-average wind shear and a weak or nonexistent El Nino are expected to feed this hurricane season. 

In an average Atlantic hurricane season. there are 12 named storms, six of which become hurricanes and two major hurricanes of category 3 or higher. 

Storms are named when they are designated a tropical storm, with minimum sustained winds of 39 mph. When windspeeds reach 74 mph, the storm gains hurricane status.

How to Prepare

  • Inventory your property. The camera on your cell phone should get you what you need. Remember flood insurance will not go into effect until 30 days after your purchase.
  • Have all your important documents in a safe, easily moved container to take with you if you must evacuate.
  • Keep an emergency kit that includes the basics such as bottled water, a flashlight, batteries, first aid kit, pocket knife, candles, matches, sanitary supplies, etc…
  • Keep all trees and shrubbery trimmed. Winds in excess of 55 mph can blow large branches right off the tree and into your home. 
  • Acquire a NOAA Weather Radio. One of the most important tools of the hurricane season, the NOAA radio broadcasts up-to-date weather reports, evacuation routes, and other pertinent information.
  • ALWAYS know you county’s evacuation plans and routes. Know what roads to use ahead of time so you will not be stuck in traffic during an evacuation.

Tips for Handling Insurance Claims after the Storm

Additional tips and helpful resources, such as claims hotlines, can be found on AIA’s Catastrophe Central web page at:

Once the storm has passed, AIA offers the following tips for homeowners and businesses following a hurricane.  We recommend that policyholders:  

--) Contact their insurer(s) immediately after the storm to report all losses and damages.  Having your insurance information will speed things, so locate that as soon as possible.

--) Keep all recovery-related receipts including for meals and lodging as those might be covered under the “additional living expenses” portion of your insurance policy.

--) Businesses may also have coverage related to interruptions caused by the storm and should maintain records, receipts, etc.

--) Prepare a list of all damaged property (structure and contents), and if possible, photograph or video the damaged items.

--) Return claim forms as soon as possible to your insurer.

--) Work closely and stay in regular touch with your insurer.

--) When you rebuild, ask your contractor about adding features that would increase the building’s disaster-resistance.

--) Ask questions if you are unclear about your policy.

The Dangers of Hurricanes

Hurricanes have a number of jeopardizing effects when they make landfall, the most common being wind speed and flooding. Even a category one can have winds of 74-95 mph. More severe hurricanes can be slow moving, causing flash flooding in low-lying areas. Hurricanes can also produce tornadoes. The more intense the hurricane is, the more likely that it will produce multiple tornadoes. The most terrifying effect of a hurricane is the storm surge. A surging large dome of water, often 50-100 miles wide, can sweep along the coastline when a hurricane makes landfall. Coastline areas are most vulnerable to storm surges and should take the highest precautions.

What is the difference between a tropical depression, a tropical storm, and a hurricane?
tropical depression is an organized system of clouds and thunderstorms with a defined 
counterclockwise circulation and maximum sustained wind speeds of 38mph or less.

tropical storm is an organized system of strong thunderstorms with a defined circulation 
and maximum sustained wind speeds of 39-73mph. At this stage, the storm is now given a name.

hurricane is an intense tropical weather system with a clear defined circulation and maximum 
wind speeds of 74mph or higher.

2017 Atlantic Storm Names & Information


Important Hurricane Facts

  • All hurricanes begin in a warm, moist atmosphere over tropical ocean waters
  • A typical hurricane can dump 6-12 inches of rain across a region
  • The most violent winds and heaviest rains take place inside the eye wall, the ring of clouds and thunderstorms closely surrounding the eye of the storm
  • Every second, a large hurricane releases the energy of ten atomic bombs
  • Hurricanes are the only weather disasters that are given their own names
  • Slower moving hurricanes produce more rainfall and can cause more damage than faster moving, more powerful hurricanes
  • The storm surge of the hurricane produces more casualties than the wind or rain.

The Differences between Watches and Warnings

When your area has been issued a hurricane WATCH

  • Fuel all family vehicles in case of immediate evacuation
  • Store away all outdoor lawn furnishings, toys, or other loose objects around your property
  • Double check your food supplies just in case of prolonged power outings
  • Make sure you have sufficient bottled water on hand
  • Prepare to board up all windows/doors to minimize wind damage, if necessary
  • STAY TUNED to local weather broadcasts

When your area has been issued a hurricane WARNING

  • Complete preparation activities including supply check, boarding up windows, and storing outside objects
  • Stay inside at all times
  • If ordered to evacuate, DO IT
  • When evacuating, make sure you know where you are going, inform friends and family members, and if the area is going to be safe
  • If evacuating, disconnect all utilities such as small appliances, phones, gas lines, and electricity as an added precaution against damages
  • STAY TUNED to local weather broadcasts for up-to-date weather information, shelter areas, and emergency broadcasts