In conjunction with Governor Rick Perry, the Orange County Commissioners’ Court has recognized the week of Feb. 20-26 as severe weather awareness week.

Each year brings the potential of violent weather to Texas and large portions of the state, including Orange County could be devastated by flooding, tornadoes, hail storms, straight line winds and other severe emergencies.

The court encourages the community to learn more about severe weather and the different things that can be done to prepare for severe weather.

Straight-line winds can blow in excess of 100 miles per hour, strong enough to uproot trees, destroy crops and cause substantial damage to buildings and roofs.

Hail storms can cause hail to fall at speeds nearing 50 to 75 miles per hour, damaging trees, crops, automobiles and buildings. Hail storms cause more than $1 billion in damage nationwide each year.

Being prepared is vital to staying safe when severe weather hits. All Orange County citizens are encouraged to create an emergency plan that includes an evacuation plan, and to keep on hand an emergency supply kit (see list below for recommended items).

The community is encouraged to monitor the weather via television, radio and/or internet. When severe weather threatens, citizens should seek shelter in an interior room on the lowest floor, such as a bathroom, stairwell, hallway or closet. Stay way from windows. If caught outside, cover your head to protect against flying debris and avoid highway overpasses.

Recommended Items to Include in a Basic Emergency Supply Kit:
• Water, one gallon of water per person per day for at least three days, for drinking and sanitation
• Food, at least a three-day supply of non-perishable food
• Battery-powered or hand crank radio and a NOAA Weather Radio with tone alert and extra batteries for both
• Flashlight and extra batteries
• First aid kit
• Whistle to signal for help
• Dust mask, to help filter contaminated air and plastic sheeting and duct tape to shelter-in-place
• Moist towelettes, garbage bags and plastic ties for personal sanitation
• Wrench or pliers to turn off utilities
• Can opener for food (if kit contains canned food)
• Local maps
• Cell phone with chargers, inverter or solar charger
• Prescription medications and glasses
• Infant formula and diapers
• Pet food and extra water for your pet
• Important family documents such as copies of insurance policies, identification and bank account records in a waterproof, portable container
• Cash or traveler’s checks and change
• Important family documents such as copies of insurance policies, identification and bank account records in a waterproof, portable container. You can use the Emergency Financial First Aid Kit (EFFAK) – PDF, 277Kb) developed by Operation Hope, FEMA and Citizen Corps to help you organize your information.
• Emergency reference material such as a first aid book or information from
• Sleeping bag or warm blanket for each person. Consider additional bedding if you live in a cold-weather climate.
• Complete change of clothing including a long sleeved shirt, long pants and sturdy shoes. Consider additional clothing if you live in a cold-weather climate.
• Household chlorine bleach and medicine dropper – When diluted nine parts water to one part bleach, bleach can be used as a disinfectant. Or in an emergency, you can use it to treat water by using 16 drops of regular household liquid bleach per gallon of water. Do not use scented, color safe or bleaches with added cleaners.
• Fire Extinguisher
• Matches in a waterproof container
• Feminine supplies and personal hygiene items
• Mess kits, paper cups, plates and plastic utensils, paper towels
• Paper and pencil
• Books, games, puzzles or other activities for children


About Nicole Gibbs

Editor of The Record Newspapers