Be Hurricane Prepared, Houston!

The dog days of summer are upon us, Houston. And guess what else is too?

Hurricane season.

Be Hurricane Prepared, Houston!

And not the delicious {potent} kind found in our good ole neighboring state of Louisiana.  Ain’t that right, New Orleans Moms Blog?

I have a heightened sensitivity to hurricanes {and their catastrophic destruction}, having lost 95% of our possessions in Katrina while living in NOLA.  I’ve also weathered Ike in Houston, a couple of Category 1’s in Louisiana, and more tropical storms than I can count. So I guess you could say I’m a pro. Or at least I am a pro at watching the Weather Channel like a hawk during this June – November season.

We at Houston Moms Blog thought it would be a great idea to put together a comprehensive list to help get YOU prepared this hurricane season. While the last two years have been relatively quiet in the tropics, we can never take for granted that a system won’t take aim at Houston at any time. And now that I have children, I want to be ready for anything and everything that could come our way.

Know Your Area ::

Do you live in a flood zone? Could your house be affected by storm surge or damaging winds? The closer to the coast, the greater the risk clearly – but that doesn’t mean our friends north and west aren’t prone to the effects of a hurricane. Hurricanes can drop torrential amounts of rain and spawn nasty tornados, so we all need to know our risk. Visit this FEMA flood map website and simply enter your address to find out if you are in a flood plain.

{Little fun fact for you :: although my husband and I live in an area that is not designated in even the 500 year flood plain, we STILL have flood insurance. Oh yes, ma’am, we do. That’s what a little hurricane PTSD will do for you. And by the way, if you are in a low-risk flood zone, insurance is el-cheapo for peace of mind.}

Get Prepared ::

1. Inventory :: This is just a good idea in general, not just for hurricanes. It may seem excessive, but you will be so thankful in the event of a worst-case scenario. Write down EVERYTHING of value in your house. Include furniture, antiques, appliances, electronics, jewelry, glassware, etc. Take pictures of each room in your house and store them in a safe place {NOT in your house}. I recommend using a remote-based company you can upload and store your pictures to.

2. Documentation :: Keep one binder of THE important documents – insurance policies for your home and cars including agent’s name and number, Social Security cards, birth certificates, and passports. We also keep an emergency credit card in there for the “just in case.” It will save you precious time to be able to grab your binder and head out the door. {Make a copy of all these documents as well and either keep it in a safe deposit box or mail to a trusted family member to hold onto.}

3. Family Emergency Plan :: Create a family emergency plan. Know where each family member will go in the event of a natural disaster and have a rendezvous point where you can meet up. This is a great start here.

4. Emergency Supplies Kit :: FREE printable below of what to include. Plan for up to 3 days for each family member.

5. Keep Alert :: During hurricane season, I am hyper vigilant about keeping my gas tank at least half full. If a storm heads our way, I want to make sure that I’m not running around on empty and the gas lines will be crazy long. Consider keeping a few large gallons of gas {stored in a safe place, of course} for generators and extra fill ups. Oh yes, we own a generator. Kept me nice and cool, not to mention plugged into the latest news, during Hurricane Ike. Follow your local news channel or the National Hurricane Center to track the path of the storm.

Top Weather Apps ::

1. Free American Red Cross Hurricane Tracking App

2.  Hurricane Pro {$2.99}

3. Free Weather Channel App

4. NOAA Weather/Radar {$3.99}

Plan for Evacuation ::

I’m going to say it right now. I’m a total wimp with hurricanes. No shame. After staying during Ike, I swore up and down that I would never stay again, no matter how far away we lived from the center of the storm. Our house was in good condition, minus the downed fence and a couple of trees, but we had no power and had to get through one of the scariest nights of my life when the storm rolled in. And now that I have two little ones to comfort and keep safe? No thank you.

If You Evacuate ::

1. Know the Evacuation Guidelines. Great resource here.

2. Follow the local authority’s instructions. If they call for a mandatory evacuation, by all means, EVACUATE. Things can be replaced, people cannot.

3. Know the roads. Have maps ready and familiarize yourself with back roads to minimize congestion. If your city has pre-planned evacuation routes, make sure you know what they are in advance.

4. Know where you are going. Have 3 places already in mind in various directions depending on the track of the storm. Let family members know exactly where you are going and what route you are taking.

5. Keep the kids in mind. They may be scared by all of the chaos. Keep yourself as calm as possible. Bring along plenty of distractions for them, toys, games, and movies. {We have a rainy day shelf stocked with new toys and games the kids have never played. This would be a great area to hit up before you leave town.}

6. Don’t come back until the “all-clear.” Follow all the guidelines from your local officials. Trying to come back early increases congestion, therefore preventing the first responders to do their jobs.

Remember that free printable I mentioned? Get it here…

Emergency Supplies Kit Checklist

Click here for PDF Download

Stay safe, Houston. Readying your family NOW will save you precious moments later. How do YOU get ready for Hurricane season? Let us know in the comments!

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Meagan is a Dallas native who has lived in the Katy area for over a decade. She kicked a soccer ball all the way to Louisiana to attend college at her family’s alma mater of LSU, where she promptly fell in love with a Texas Aggie in Baton Rouge for an internship. After swimming back to Texas following Hurricane Katrina, Matt and Meagan fell in love with the Houston area and now couldn’t imagine living anywhere else. Following several years of infertility, their miracle twins Ryan and Quinn were born in June of 2010. She believes there is nothing better than a chilled glass of Pinot Grigio, a large Sonic Diet Coke, sushi take-out, Girls Nights Out, and a mindless book to curl up with. Besides playing chauffeur and catering to the whims of her children, Meagan also is the Co-Owner of Houston Moms Blog. You can keep up with Meagan at The Clanahan Fam and on Instagram @meaganclanahan!

4 COMMENTS

  1. Great article, thank you! As a newbie to Texas, this is valuable. Might I also suggest that if you have adults or kiddos with food allergies, be sure to have a special three day supply for them. It can be very difficult to find safe food on the road or when everything is shut down.

    • Of course! Neighbors have to stick together {plus NOLA is my heart city :)} Crossing fingers for a VERY quiet hurricane season. Unless it comes in a very tall glass.

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