When the temperatures dropped in February and millions of Texans lost power for days, many residents in Galveston County had a unique advantage — hurricane preparedness.
Items that got Galveston County residents through the winter storm in February were many of the items saved up from last year’s hurricane season, such as portable batteries, a supply of bottled water and food and other such items for coping when the electricity goes out.
As hurricane season again approaches, it’s well worth noting what items proved useful during the storm as residents prepare to withstand inclement weather, according to officials with the National Weather Service in League City.
“People in this area are more familiar with hurricane prep, but a lot of the same lessons do apply to extreme cold,” said Dan Reilly, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in League City. “You need to be prepared for a period without power and water perhaps.”
The headline advice about getting ready for the hurricane season remains the same as it ever was, officials said. Everyone should make a plan, build an emergency kit and stay informed.
The Federal Emergency Management Administration has published some guidance about what to store up on during inclement weather, including medication, disinfectant, pet supplies and other food.
The Red Cross recommends buying food and water for three days, a flashlight, a battery-powered or hand-crank radio, extra batteries, a first aid kid, a multi-purpose tool, cell phone chargers and copies of personal documents.
Grocery stores may have shortages of some essential supplies in the hours before and days after a hurricane comes ashore.
Many county residents also have taken to installing generators in the months since plunging temperatures led to a near total collapse of the power grid, leaving millions of Texans freezing in the dark for days.
Although winter is long gone, the faith of some power consumers in the state grid’s ability to meet demand any time, especially in deep summer, has been shaken to the point that a Plan B seems prudent, even at a cost of more than $10,000.
For many county residents, the winter freeze was the last straw when looking ahead at hurricane season.
Larry Summer, of Friendswood, actually beat the rush for generators when he installed his in June 2015, shortly after losing power during a bad storm, he said.
“We had this lake house up near Crockett, and every time a hurricane was coming, we’d go up there,” Summer said. “One time, we got crossways and didn’t make it. One night we lost power, it got hot, and I told my wife we wouldn’t do this again.”
At the time Summer installed his generator, he was about the only home in the neighborhood with one, he said. But now, anytime the area loses power, you can walk outside and hear generators churning across the neighborhood, he said.
Generators can be a useful tool during bad weather, but residents should read safety manuals, Reilly said. Officials have seen too many instances of carbon monoxide poisoning.
So, residents shouldn’t run generators in poorly ventilated areas, Reilly said.