Recently, the Valley has been pounded with storm after storm. Really heavy storms. Storms that shake the walls and flood our lovely streets and highways.
Last week, Highway 83 was shut down due to flooding in Starr County. This week Central Texas has endured severe flooding and tornado threats. Lightening strikes have been accompanying our storms at record highs.
What are we moms and dads doing with the kids? Singing Julie Andrews hits from The Sound of Music (yes!)and scrambling to be sure there are batteries in the flashlights and matches for the candles. Wait… what candles? Where is the flashlight?
I am not a weather expert, but I certainly like to be prepared and have compiled useful information that we should all be aware of to prepare for weather emergencies. Read through these with your family and include your children in the discussion as well. Talk about your level of preparedness. Above all, safety first!
Do you have an emergency bag?
Do you know the safest place in your house from a storm?
Would you be able to evacuate quickly if need be?
Are you equipped to be housebound for three days?
Is a storm coming your way? Check the MyRadar App.
FLASH FLOODS [What are they?]
“Flash floods are short-term events, occurring within 6 hours of the causative event (heavy rain, dam break, levee failure, rapid, snowmelt and ice jams) and often within 2 hours of the start of high intensity rainfall. A flash flood is characterized by a rapid stream rise with depths of water that can reach well above the banks of the creek. Flash flood damage and most fatalities tend to occur in areas immediately adjacent to a stream or arroyo. Additionally, heavy rain falling on steep terrain can weaken soil and cause mud slides, damaging homes, roads and property. Flash floods can be produced when slow moving or multiple thunderstorms occur over the same area. When storms move faster, flash flooding is less likely since the rain is distributed over a broader area.”
[Source: National Weather Service]
“Flash flooding is the leading cause of weather-related deaths in Texas. As little as six inches of water can float some vehicles. If you encounter a flooded road, Turn Around, Don’t Drown.”
Did you know? Moving, tampering, or driving around road barriers are against the law! You could be fined $200 to $1,000 and possibly serve jail time (2 years!). More importantly, you are putting yourself or others in danger by doing this.
[Source: Texas Department of Transportation]
- Monitor your local weather station for updates about your area or your travel destination and route.
- Be prepared for a quick evacuation.
- Know your area and if you are in a flood plain, area prone to flooding, and where the higher ground is if you need to reach it.
- Stay in a safe area until clearance has been given to return.
- SIX INCHES is all it takes to sweep you or your vehicle away.
- DO NOT cross a flooded road. Again, SIX INCHES can sweep your car off the road.
- Get out of the car if you are caught in a rising flood.
- Keep children away and out of the water.
- Night poses its own set of threats since flooding is harder to see. Use extra caution.
- Flood safety tips and information on flood insurance at www.FloodSmart.gov.
[Source: Red Cross]
- Batteries & Flashlight
- 3 day supply of water & food (non-perishable)
- First Aid kit & Any necessary medications
- Rain gear and boots/shoes
- Baby supplies
- Spare cash stash
- Paper copy of emergency contacts
- Secure and copy important personal documents
- Leatherman tool or something similar
- Insect repellent and sunscreen
- Camera to photograph any flood damage (for insurance purposes)
[Source: Red Cross]
MyRadar App – This is a quick reference with radar maps of the US. I downloaded this during a road trip and love its ease and simplicity.