Galveston.com  Storm Preparation and Aftermath

PREPARATION

Storm Watch Preparation

For up-to-the-minute weather information, visit the Galveston.com Weather Center, from weatherman Stan Blazyk, our @GalvWeather account on Twitterand our two WeatherUnderground Weather Stations - on The Strand and Seawall Boulevard!

Secure your home

  • Install shutters, storm panels or plywood over all windows, doors, skylights, open vents.
  • Insert wedges in all doors and sliding patio doors. Doors that open inward will have to be wedged and bolted so that strong winds don't blow the doors open and expose the entire house to damaging winds. Placing a large piece of furniture next to the door will also help. If unprotected patio doors are not wedged, the damaging winds will lift them from their track, allowing wind to blow in.
  • Secure garage doors and porch doors. If you can leave a car in the garage, back it up against the closed door.
  • Lower television and radio antennas.
  • Protect appliances and furniture by elevating them off the floor and covering them with plastic. Move valuables to upper floors.
  • Remove at least 75 percent of any screen-enclosed panels, to avoid tearing and excessive damage to the enclosure. These panels can easily be refitted once the storm passes by.
  • Set the refrigerator thermostat to maximum cold, and don't open unless necessary.
  • Recharge appropriate equipment, such as electric drills, tools; cellular phones, batteries.

Secure your outdoor property

  • Remove loose objects from the yard and patio.
  • Prune dead or dying tree limbs.
  • Tie down any large objects that cannot be brought in such as propane tanks, swingsets, etc. These might become deadly missiles in high winds.
  • Close all outside electrical outlets and cover with duct tape.
  • Do not drain your swimming pool. Keep the pool filled to about 12 inches below the edge. Add additional chlorine. Turn off electricity to pool and cover the filter pump.

Prepare your "Hurricane Disaster Supplies Kit"

  • Purchase fresh and extra batteries for radio and flashlights.
  • Make as much ice as can be stored in available freezer space.
  • Refill prescription medications and obtain an extra supply of special medications or supplies.
  • Purchase additional nonperishable food that does not need cooking. Don't forget pet food or special dietary supplies.

Additional action

  • Moor your boat. If possible take out it of water and store well inland. Check with the local marina if you are docked there. If leaving the boat and trailer outside, remove air from the trailer tires and tie the boat to the trailer. If possible, anchor the trailer. Remove all electronics and personal items once the boat is secured.
  • Keep your vehicle(s) filled with gas.
  • Get extra cash from the bank since electronic tellers might be out for days after a major storm due to power failures and damage.
  • Review your evacuation plans; make sure the family knows the plan and how to reach emergency assistance. Have a plan in case family members are separated.

Storm Warning Preparation

Quickly complete all chores listed above, then...

  • You should plan to arrive at the shelter or stay indoors no later than the expected arrival time of tropical storm force winds. Determine whether to evaculate or to stay. Your initial choice might be to ride out the storm but always prepare to leave.
  • If you live in a mobile home, it is always best to evacuate.
  • If you are in an area under an official evacuation order, state law may require you to evacuate.

If You Plan To Evacuate:

  • Turn off main gas valve to house.
  • Sterilize, then fill water containers, sinks and bath tubs, then turn off main water valve to house.
  • Close drapes and lock all windows and doors.
  • Lower awnings.
  • It's advisable to take your pets with you if at all possible, especially if you are in a storm surge area, low-lying area or mandatory evacuation zone. Obviously if conditions are not favorable for a human to survive, it only makes sense that a pet would not survive either. Keep in mind too that shelters do not accept pets. Make sure all of your have proper identification.
  • Load Hurricane Disaster Supplies Kit into car.
  • Take personal papers, insurance documents, driver's license, property inventories with you in a water-proof container.
  • Turn off electricity at main box.
  • Plan to leave and get to evacuation site during daylight hours.
  • Drive safely to evacuation site.

If You Plan To Stay In Your Home:

  • Turn off main gas valve to house.
  • Sterilize, then fill water containers, sinks, and bath tubs, then turn off main water to house.
  • Close drapes and lock all windows and doors.
  • Lower awnings.
  • Use phone only for emergencies.
  • Put personal papers, insurance documents, drivers license, property inventories in a water-proof container and keep near you.
  • Turn off electricity at main box before the storm hits, then use flashlights.
  • Stay indoors on a middle floor, in the middle of the house, away from windows and doors.
  • During the storm, the safest position is sitting on the floor with your head tucked between your knees. Place your arms over your head to shield yourself from flying objects.
  • Beware of the calm conditions when the eye passes overhead. Stay indoors until the entire storm has passed.

After the Storm

Be careful to take certain precautions after the storm has passed. Damage to your home can have a dramatic emotional impact, and it's best to have a plan for how to reenter your home before a storm hits. Having a plan, and being aware of certain risks, will minimize the threat of harm to you or your family.

Keep these tips in mind:

  • Stay turned to the Galveston.com Weather Center, local news organizations, such as a radio or television station, for important announcements, bulletins, and instructions concerning the storm area, medical aid and other forms of assistance, such as food, water and shelter.
  • Remember that you may not have immediate access to your home. Emergency rescue crews, power crews, and other personnel may be attending to special needs. Roads could be blocked, power lines could be down, and people may be trapped and in need of assistance.
  • Make sure that you have current identification. You may have to pass through identification check points before being allowed access to your home/neighborhood.
  • Avoid driving, as roads may be blocked. Avoid sight-seeing, or entering a storm ravaged area unnecessarily. You could be mistaken for a looter.
  • Avoid downed power lines, even if they look harmless. Avoid metal fences and other metal objects near downed lines.
  • DO NOT use matches in a storm ravaged area, until all gas lines area checked for leaks. (Keep flashlights and plenty of batteries at hand.)
  • Avoid turning the power on at your home if there is flooding present. Have a professional conduct a thorough inspection first.
  • Consider having professionals/licensed contractors inspect your home for damage and help in repairs. This includes electricians, as well as professionals to inspect gas lines, remove uprooted trees, and check plumbing. Remember that downed or damaged trees can contain power lines that can be a hazard.
  • Use a camera or camcorder to record thoroughly any damage done to your home, before any repairs are attempted.
  • In certain areas, the flooding rains that accompany a storm can create pest problems. Be aware of potential pest problems in your area, such as mice, rats, insects or snakes, that may have "come with the storm".
  • Telephone lines will likely be busy in the area; use a phone only for emergencies.
  • Flooding brings with it the risk of waterborne bacterial contaminations. You should assume that the water is not safe and use properly stored water, or boil your tap water.

These are just a few ideas to be thinking about before and after a severe storm hits. Remember to keep your radio tuned to a station issuing emergency bulletins and updates with the latest information.

Storm Watch Preparation

For up-to-the-minute weather information, visit the Galveston.com Weather Center, from weatherman Stan Blazyk, our @GalvWeather account on Twitterand our two WeatherUnderground Weather Stations - on The Strand and Seawall Boulevard!

Secure your home

  • Install shutters, storm panels or plywood over all windows, doors, skylights, open vents.
  • Insert wedges in all doors and sliding patio doors. Doors that open inward will have to be wedged and bolted so that strong winds don't blow the doors open and expose the entire house to damaging winds. Placing a large piece of furniture next to the door will also help. If unprotected patio doors are not wedged, the damaging winds will lift them from their track, allowing wind to blow in.
  • Secure garage doors and porch doors. If you can leave a car in the garage, back it up against the closed door.
  • Lower television and radio antennas.
  • Protect appliances and furniture by elevating them off the floor and covering them with plastic. Move valuables to upper floors.
  • Remove at least 75 percent of any screen-enclosed panels, to avoid tearing and excessive damage to the enclosure. These panels can easily be refitted once the storm passes by.
  • Set the refrigerator thermostat to maximum cold, and don't open unless necessary.
  • Recharge appropriate equipment, such as electric drills, tools; cellular phones, batteries.

Secure your outdoor property

  • Remove loose objects from the yard and patio.
  • Prune dead or dying tree limbs.
  • Tie down any large objects that cannot be brought in such as propane tanks, swingsets, etc. These might become deadly missiles in high winds.
  • Close all outside electrical outlets and cover with duct tape.
  • Do not drain your swimming pool. Keep the pool filled to about 12 inches below the edge. Add additional chlorine. Turn off electricity to pool and cover the filter pump.

Prepare your "Hurricane Disaster Supplies Kit"

  • Purchase fresh and extra batteries for radio and flashlights.
  • Make as much ice as can be stored in available freezer space.
  • Refill prescription medications and obtain an extra supply of special medications or supplies.
  • Purchase additional nonperishable food that does not need cooking. Don't forget pet food or special dietary supplies.

Additional action

  • Moor your boat. If possible take out it of water and store well inland. Check with the local marina if you are docked there. If leaving the boat and trailer outside, remove air from the trailer tires and tie the boat to the trailer. If possible, anchor the trailer. Remove all electronics and personal items once the boat is secured.
  • Keep your vehicle(s) filled with gas.
  • Get extra cash from the bank since electronic tellers might be out for days after a major storm due to power failures and damage.
  • Review your evacuation plans; make sure the family knows the plan and how to reach emergency assistance. Have a plan in case family members are separated.

Storm Warning Preparation

Quickly complete all chores listed above, then...

  • You should plan to arrive at the shelter or stay indoors no later than the expected arrival time of tropical storm force winds. Determine whether to evaculate or to stay. Your initial choice might be to ride out the storm but always prepare to leave.
  • If you live in a mobile home, it is always best to evacuate.
  • If you are in an area under an official evacuation order, state law may require you to evacuate.

If You Plan To Evacuate:

  • Turn off main gas valve to house.
  • Sterilize, then fill water containers, sinks and bath tubs, then turn off main water valve to house.
  • Close drapes and lock all windows and doors.
  • Lower awnings.
  • It's advisable to take your pets with you if at all possible, especially if you are in a storm surge area, low-lying area or mandatory evacuation zone. Obviously if conditions are not favorable for a human to survive, it only makes sense that a pet would not survive either. Keep in mind too that shelters do not accept pets. Make sure all of your have proper identification.
  • Load Hurricane Disaster Supplies Kit into car.
  • Take personal papers, insurance documents, driver's license, property inventories with you in a water-proof container.
  • Turn off electricity at main box.
  • Plan to leave and get to evacuation site during daylight hours.
  • Drive safely to evacuation site.

If You Plan To Stay In Your Home:

  • Turn off main gas valve to house.
  • Sterilize, then fill water containers, sinks, and bath tubs, then turn off main water to house.
  • Close drapes and lock all windows and doors.
  • Lower awnings.
  • Use phone only for emergencies.
  • Put personal papers, insurance documents, drivers license, property inventories in a water-proof container and keep near you.
  • Turn off electricity at main box before the storm hits, then use flashlights.
  • Stay indoors on a middle floor, in the middle of the house, away from windows and doors.
  • During the storm, the safest position is sitting on the floor with your head tucked between your knees. Place your arms over your head to shield yourself from flying objects.
  • Beware of the calm conditions when the eye passes overhead. Stay indoors until the entire storm has passed.

After the Storm

Be careful to take certain precautions after the storm has passed. Damage to your home can have a dramatic emotional impact, and it's best to have a plan for how to reenter your home before a storm hits. Having a plan, and being aware of certain risks, will minimize the threat of harm to you or your family.

Keep these tips in mind:

  • Stay turned to the Galveston.com Weather Center, local news organizations, such as a radio or television station, for important announcements, bulletins, and instructions concerning the storm area, medical aid and other forms of assistance, such as food, water and shelter.
  • Remember that you may not have immediate access to your home. Emergency rescue crews, power crews, and other personnel may be attending to special needs. Roads could be blocked, power lines could be down, and people may be trapped and in need of assistance.
  • Make sure that you have current identification. You may have to pass through identification check points before being allowed access to your home/neighborhood.
  • Avoid driving, as roads may be blocked. Avoid sight-seeing, or entering a storm ravaged area unnecessarily. You could be mistaken for a looter.
  • Avoid downed power lines, even if they look harmless. Avoid metal fences and other metal objects near downed lines.
  • DO NOT use matches in a storm ravaged area, until all gas lines area checked for leaks. (Keep flashlights and plenty of batteries at hand.)
  • Avoid turning the power on at your home if there is flooding present. Have a professional conduct a thorough inspection first.
  • Consider having professionals/licensed contractors inspect your home for damage and help in repairs. This includes electricians, as well as professionals to inspect gas lines, remove uprooted trees, and check plumbing. Remember that downed or damaged trees can contain power lines that can be a hazard.
  • Use a camera or camcorder to record thoroughly any damage done to your home, before any repairs are attempted.
  • In certain areas, the flooding rains that accompany a storm can create pest problems. Be aware of potential pest problems in your area, such as mice, rats, insects or snakes, that may have "come with the storm".
  • Telephone lines will likely be busy in the area; use a phone only for emergencies.
  • Flooding brings with it the risk of waterborne bacterial contaminations. You should assume that the water is not safe and use properly stored water, or boil your tap water.

These are just a few ideas to be thinking about before and after a severe storm hits. Remember to keep your radio tuned to a station issuing emergency bulletins and updates with the latest information.