The 2019 Hurricane season began, Saturday, June 1 and runs through Saturday, Nov. 30. If disaster strikes, Missouri City’s Emergency Operations Center is ready to respond.
What’s Expected this Season?
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) Climate Prediction Center is predicting that a near-normal Atlantic hurricane season is most likely this year. This outlook forecasts a 40% chance of a near-normal season, a 30% chance of an above-normal season and a 30% chance of a below-normal season.
For 2019, NOAA forecasts a likely range of 9 to 15 named storms (winds of 39 mph or higher), of which 4 to 8 could become hurricanes (winds of 74 mph or higher), including 2 to 4 major hurricanes (category 3, 4 or 5; with winds of 111 mph or higher). NOAA provides these ranges with a 70% confidence. An average hurricane season produces 12 named storms, of which 6 become hurricanes, including 3 major hurricanes. View list of names for this season below:
Are you Prepared?
While MCTX is designated by the State as a pass-through City for evacuees who live along the Gulf Coast, citizens are still encouraged to prepare themselves and stay aware of the potential for severe weather that can accompany tropical systems.
Residents and businesses in Fort Bend and Harris Counties are encouraged to sign up for emergency alerts on www.missouricityready.com and learn how to prepare supply kits and stock up on necessary items such as non-perishable food, water, flashlights, batteries, radios, first-aid kits, cell phones, chargers, maps and important documents.
To emphasize the importance of preparing before a storm hits and to assist the public with getting ready for the 2019 Hurricane Season, May 5 to May 11 was marked as National Hurricane Preparedness Week. In addition to sharing Hurricane Preparedness tips from the National Weather Service, MCTV produced several videos highlighting these main topics:
Determine Your Risk: Based on your location, find out what types of wind and water hazards could happen in your area and make a plan now on how to handle them.
Develop an Evacuation Plan: Identify safe locations that are not prone to wind/flood threats that you can shelter in, if there is an evacuation order issued. Remember to account for your pets too, as most local shelters do not permit them. Make sure to put these locations and the plan in writing as well.
Assemble Disaster Supplies: Have enough non-perishable food, water and medicine to last each person in your family a minimum of three days. Also, remember to include extra cash, battery-powered radios, flashlights, batteries, maps, cell phones, chargers and other important documents.
Get an Insurance Checkup: Ensure that you have proper insurance coverage for your home, cars and boats. Standard homeowners insurance doesn’t cover flooding; check with your insurance company/agent or the National Flood Insurance Program at floodsmart.gov now if you think coverage is needed. Flood insurance requires a 30-day waiting period.
Strengthen Your Home: Make sure to trim trees that are too close to homes ahead of a storm. And, remember to secure loose objects that are outside, move vehicles to a safe location without blocking the streets and board up windows/doors including garage doors with proper plywood, steel or aluminum panels once there is a storm approaching.
Help Your Neighbor: Check on your neighbors and share the importance of preparing ahead of time, collecting supplies before the storm, assisting with evacuation if needed and checking-in after the storm passes.
Complete a Written Plan: Take the time now to write down your hurricane plan and share it with your family. Know where you will ride out the storm and get your supplies now. Don’t forget to keep all your important documents together for quick access and have photo documentation of all valuables.
To watch the full videos on these tips and to learn more about emergency preparedness, visit the City’s Emergency Management website—www.MissouriCityReady.com.
“As the ‘Show Me City’ and the region witnessed during Harvey, hurricanes can produce heavy winds, storm surges, torrential rains, inland flooding and tornadoes,” City Manager Anthony J. Snipes said. “It is important that along with our staff, citizens and businesses also prepare ahead of time, so that together as a City, we can withstand anything nature brings us this season.”
Where Do You Find Accurate Information?
In a disaster, communication between the City and residents is key; we saw this first-hand with Hurricane Harvey. Citizens are encouraged to follow the City’s official websites and social media outlets to receive timely, accurate information during any emergency.
The two main platforms used by City staff to share real-time information is the MCTX Emergency Management website, www.MissouriCityReady.com and the MCTX Twitter account, Twitter.com/MissouriCityEM. Residents may sign-up to receive alerts via both of these outlets.
To ensure that the message is available to the public at-large, information will also be shared on the City’s main website—www.missouricitytx.gov; Facebook—fb/MissouriCityTX; Twitter—@MissouriCityTX; municipal television station—MCTV (Ch. 16 on Comcast and Ch. 99 on AT&T U-verse); radio station—1690 AM and Nextdoor.
“When inclement weather strikes, we encourage citizens to follow the City’s official communications tools to receive accurate information quickly,” said Mayor Yolanda Ford. “The safety of our citizens is a top priority and any decisions taken during an emergency will be first shared on the official channels. Take action now to stay alert during this hurricane season.”
Key Terminology & Tips
It is also vital to understand the National Weather Service forecasts, and especially the meaning of hurricane and tornado watches and warnings.
Hurricanes: For a storm watch in this category, forecasters would report a possibility of winds of 74 mph and higher within 36 hours. For a warning, forecasters would report a possibility of winds at the same speed within 24 hours.
Tornadoes: A watch is an alert to monitor the skies and a warning signals that a tornado has struck the ground and shelter must be sought immediately.
And, for the following types of severe weather, experts offer these safety tips:
Lightning: Avoid high objects, stay away from isolated trees, telephone poles or communications antennas. Avoid contact with metal surfaces and do not bathe, swim or boat. Only use the telephone for emergency purposes.
Flash Floods: Never drive through flooded roadways, do not cross flooded roads or waterways on foot, avoid ditches and storm drains and stay tuned to local media for road reports and updates. Remember—Turn Around, Don’t Drown.
Tornadoes: Texas is struck by more tornadoes than any other state. The safest places to seek shelter in homes, schools or workplaces are interior rooms, such as bathrooms, closets, rooms without windows, hallways, auditoriums and gyms. If driving when a tornado strikes, leave the vehicle and lie flat in a ditch or ravine, if possible.
Officials also stress the importance of keeping a list of informational resources for reference. Recommendations for City residents include:
- Police and Fire Departments: 911 or 281.403.8700
- CenterPoint Energy: 713.207.2222
- American Red Cross - Fort Bend County Branch: 281.342.9480, Greater Houston Branch: 713.526.8300
- Ready Harris (www.readyharris.org); 713.881.3100; the Harris County Office of Emergency Management’s official website.
- Enable Fort Bend (www.enablefortbend.com); 281.238.3514; the agency assists individuals with functional and medical needs during an emergency or disaster.
- MCTV: Comcast Ch. 16; AT&T U-verse Ch. 99
- WQMN – 1690 AM: Emergency advisory radio station
- MCTX Mobile App: Download it in the Apple App store or on Google Play
For more updates and news, please watch the City website: www.missouricitytx.gov, like us on Facebook—fb/MissouriCityTX, follow us on Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat—@MissouriCityTX and Nextdoor, watch Missouri City Television (Ch. 16 on Comcast and Ch. 99 on AT&T U-verse) or download the MCTX Mobile app (available for free in Google Play and the Apple app store).