AUSTIN – With about four months remaining in the 2016 hurricane season, the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) is reminding residents to evaluate their emergency plans and monitor weather forecasts for potential hurricanes and tropical storms. Hurricane season began June 1 and continues through Nov. 30. Historically, August and September are the more active months during a hurricane season.

“A well-established hurricane plan and complete emergency kit can be lifesavers in the event of a hurricane or tropical storm, and we urge Texans to take precautions now for possible storms,” said DPS Director Steven McCraw. “As we approach the peak months of hurricane season, residents should remain vigilant and keep a watchful eye on weather reports and conditions in their area.”

All Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico coastal areas are subject to hurricanes or tropical storms. It is possible for a storm to severely impact our state, even prior to or without making direct landfall in Texas. Additionally, the rainbands associated with a tropical system have an extremely wide reach, so monitoring changing weather conditions during hurricane season is critically important for all Texans.

Hurricanes can cause catastrophic damage to coastlines, and winds can vary from 74 to 157 miles per hour (or higher). In addition, hurricanes and tropical storms can also spawn tornadoes, create dangerous coastal water conditions including storm surges along the coast, and cause extensive damage from flooding.

Here are several measures residents can take now to prepare for potential storms:

  • Assemble an emergency kit that includes essential documents, supplies and provisions.
  • Review hurricane evacuation maps, and select a route for you and your family.
  • Plan how all family members and pets will evacuate safely.
  • Consider any special needs for individuals with disabilities or the elderly.
  • Stay informed about changing weather conditions in and around your area.

If you or someone you know might need assistance during a disaster, please register for the State of Texas Emergency Assistance Registry (STEAR), a free registry that provides local emergency planners and responders with additional information about needs in their communities. To register, contact 2-1-1 Texas, the state’s free 24-hour helpline. No matter where you live in Texas, you can dial 2-1-1 or (877) 541-7905 for community resources.

For more ways to prepare for the 2016 hurricane season, we urge Texans to visit: www.texasprepares.org.