KHOU 11 Hurricane Preparedness Guide
Download it here
Understanding tropical weather
Hurricane season supplies
What you need to keep your family safe
Stay prepared throughout the season
Don't wait until a storm forms
Evacuations: Know when to go
Know how to get out of danger
Why everyone in our area should have it
Hurricane 101: What is a hurricane?
Hurricanes can do a wide range of damage
The 1900 Galveston storm
It was the deadliest U.S. disaster
2021 Storm names
Last year, we went through them all
Live hurricane tracker
Track storms once they form
More helpful hurricane links
Are you ready for hurricane season? Do you know the science behind the storms? We address all of that in our special -- 'Hurricane Season: Staying Weather Smart.' You can watch the full episode below.
The 2021 Atlantic Hurricane Season is here and we want to make sure you're prepared. It's expected to be an active season, so make sure you have everything you need to keep yourself, your home and your family safe if a storm comes our way. And make sure you have the KHOU 11 news app to stay updated when you're not in front of your TV or computer.
KHOU 11 Hurricane Preparedness Guide: Download it here
In the KHOU 11 Hurricane Preparedness Guide, which is in both English and Spanish, we'll take you through all of the dangers of tropical weather, from storm surge to wind damage and flooding. We have checklists, evacuation information and much more.
We also take you through what all of the Watches and Warnings associated with storms mean. as well as what damage hurricanes can do by category.
Hurricane explainers: Understanding tropical weather
Living on the Gulf Coast, there's a lot you need to know about hurricanes and other tropical systems. Here are just a few explainers.
What is the dirty side of the storm?
Know your hurricane terminology
Does climate change play a role in tropical weather?
Hurricane season supplies: What you need to keep your family safe
A lot of people jump into action at the first sign of tropical weather. But there are things you can do before storms form to make sure you'll have everything you need.
Meteorologist Chita Craft has a list of everything you need to have in your hurricane preparedness kit:
- Non-perishable food
- Non-perishable baby food
- Trash bags
- Paper and pens
- Face masks
- Baby diapers and wipes
- Sleeping bag, blankets
- Coloring books, board games, playing cards or other non-digital forms of entertainment
Stay prepared throughout the season: Don't wait until a storm forms
Storms can form in a hurry so you'll want to be prepared throughout the Atlantic Hurricane Season.
There have been plenty of changes since Hurricane Harvey in 2017. As anchor Shern-Min Chow reports, since that devastating storm, voters have passed a $2.5 billion flood control bond package. Bayous have been widened and dredged. Retention ponds have been built. And more projects have been completed or are in the works.
But regardless of what's been done by the city or county, there is always risk, especially in tropical weather, so here are some quick reminders.
- Keep gas in your car
- Have hurricane preparedness kits ready
- Stay informed
In Harris County, you can text GULF 2021 to 888-777 to get alerts sent to your phone. You can also download the KHOU 11 app. We will send alerts when severe weather is threatening your location.
Evacuations: Know when to go: Know how to get out of danger
You may be asked or told to evacuate so that you're out of an area that a hurricane or tropical storm is bearing down on.
There’s a ZIP code color-coded map. Storm surge is a big threat with tropical weather, so people close to the coast may need to evacuate to get out of harm’s way.
To get people to safety more quickly, the state has a system of contraflow, which is when all inbound lanes of a freeway change to flow outbound.
State and local leaders, along with emergency operations personnel, make the call on that. They can order contraflow on I-10, I-45, 290 and the Eastex Freeway, sending people to San Antonio, Dallas, Austin or East Texas.
If you do need to evacuate, here’s what you’ll need:
- Paper map of evacuation route in case GPS goes out
- Non-perishable food
- A phone charger that doesn’t require electricity
- Jumper cables
- Full tank of gas
Flood insurance: Why everyone in our area should have it
Insurance policies typically don't cover flood damage. And just because your home hasn't flooded before doesn't mean it can't.
You don't want to wait to get flood coverage until a storm is in the Gulf. As KHOU 11s Xavier Walton reports, there's a 30-day waiting period, so it would be too late. The one exception -- if you're buying a new home or just bought a house.
So the time is now to sign up. And flood policies have to be renewed each year.
Hurricane 101: What is a hurricane?: Hurricanes can do a wide range of damage
With hurricane season upon us, it's good to know exactly what a hurricane is.
According to the National Weather Service, a hurricane is a tropical cyclone with maximum sustained winds of 74 mph or greater.
Our definition in Houston: the big, mean, spinning mess that threatens to wreak havoc for half the year.
It can be a bucket dumper like Harvey, which had catastrophic rainfall. It can be a buzz saw like Alicia or Rita, which were packed with devastating winds. Or it can be a smasher like Ike, which wiped out most of the Bolivar Peninsula with storm surge. Hurricanes can be one of these things or all of them.
Houston is at risk because once those storms make it into the Gulf of Mexico, which so many do, they can't get out, so someone is taking a hit.
With an estimated 350 miles of coastline, Texas odds are high and Houston is right in the crook.
That's why it's so important to be prepared and weather-aware during hurricane season.
The 1900 Galveston storm: It was the deadliest U.S. disaster
The deadliest U.S. disaster struck right here in our area. It was the hurricane that struck Galveston in 1900. It hit before storms got names.
It was referred to as the "Great Storm of 1900" and it claimed the lives of 12,000 people, including 8,000 on the Island. No one saw it coming.
Scientists at that time didn't believe a catastrophic cyclone could form near Galveston because of how shallow the continental shelf is -- until Sept. 8, 1900, proved that theory wrong when a Category 4 hurricane slammed Galveston.
The lack of forecasting tools and no real warning system made the 1900 hurricane the deadliest natural disaster in the U.S. It's documented that 12,000 people were killed, including 8,000 people on the Island.
A statue was later erected to remember the lives lost. And at the Rosenberg Library, memories of the hurricane are captured in several letters.
"The waters of the gulf were piled up by a formidable storm," one reads.
Another witness said, "the more substantial buildings, containing their hundreds of terrified humanity collapsed like shells crushing."
2021 Storm names: Last year, we went through them all
The 2020 Atlantic season broke records by producing 30 named storms, and the 2021 season is expected to be right on its heels with a predicted 17 named storms, eight hurricanes and four major hurricanes, according to a team of meteorologists at Colorado State University.
Here's this year's lineup.
Live hurricane tracker: Track storms once they form
When there's a storm in the Atlantic or Gulf, you can track it here.
More helpful hurricane links: Be prepared
Keep these resources handy throughout hurricane season.