Advocate Editorial Board opinion: Dangerous weather doesn’t wait for anyone

By the Advocate Editorial Board
May 27, 2013 at 12:27 a.m.

Victoria has seen some turbulent weather lately, including multiple funnel clouds and at least one tornado Saturday.

While there was very little damage, and the tornado avoided touching down in town, this emphasizes to us the importance of disaster readiness. While a tornado was the most recent concern, a much bigger threat looms every year. Hurricane season begins June 1 and runs through Nov. 30, and with much of our coverage area so close to the Gulf Coast, we encourage everyone to have a plan in place.

The National Weather Service has declared May 26 to June 1 National Hurricane Preparedness Week. Every day, a different element of hurricanes and how to prepare is available on the National Hurricane Center website for residents to watch. Over the past few years, the Crossroads has not been affected by any major storms, but every year, the risk returns. Some might say we're due after going so long without a major storm, but nature doesn't deal in statistics and schedules. The truth is, we will not know until the storm is formed and on its way. If we wait until then to prepare, it might be too late.

Because our area economy is doing so well, we have many new residents in the Crossroads, some of whom may not understand the importance of preparing for hurricane season. It is true, a hurricane can be tracked days in advance, but residents should not minimize the importance of making preparations before a hurricane ever forms or approaches our area. It is much easier to have a plan in place before it is needed instead of scrambling to find supplies and prepare in only a few days. We encourage residents, especially newer residents who may have not experienced hurricanes before, to take steps and have a plan in place. If you plan to evacuate, know where you will go. If you plan to stay, know what to have available and how to secure your home against the coming storm.

Thankfully, we live during a time when access to information is readily available. Residents can find many different resources with information on how to prepare for a hurricane, from the Federal Emergency Management Agency to a 12-page guide from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Each has tips to help prepare for the possibility of a major storm striking our area. Here are some of the basic tips: • Have a family communication plan. The storm may knock out cellphone towers or phone lines.

• Know where you will go if you need to evacuate.

• Plan to secure your property, including boarding up windows, securing garage doors, bringing unsecured items inside and trimming trees and hedges to reduce wind damage.

• Prepare an emergency kit with a radio; enough nonperishable food, water, medication and other supplies for three days; a first aid kit; flashlights; an emergency whistle; a manual can opener and more.

By taking a few steps before a storm develops, residents can save themselves a lot of heartache and distress if a hurricane does strike the Crossroads. If we go another year without a storm, you will already be prepared for the next season.

This editorial reflects the views of the Victoria Advocate's editorial board.



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