As Houston Gulf-Coast residents, we know it pays to be prepared for unexpected weather and the inconveniences of power outages. Use these tools and information resources to help guide you through storm season.
Restoration Time Chart
|Category 1||winds 74-95 mph||Extensive damage to power lines and poles likely will result in power outages that could last a few to several days.|
|Category 2||winds 96-110 mph||Near-total power loss is expected with outages that could last from several days to weeks.|
|Category 3||winds 111-129 mph||Electricity and water will be unavailable for several days to weeks after the storm passes./td> |
|Category 4||winds 130-156 mph||Most trees will be snapped or uprooted and power poles downed. Fallen trees and power poles will isolate residential areas. Power outages will last for weeks to possibly months.|
|Category 5||winds 157 mph and up||Fallen trees and power poles will isolate residential areas. Power outages will last for weeks to possibly months.|
Emergency Supply Kit
- Candles and matches
- First aid supplies and prescription medications
- Protective clothing, rain gear and sturdy shoes
- Sterno, charcoal and lighter fluid
- Flashlight, battery-operated radio and a two-week supply of batteries
- Hammer, nails, masking tape, plywood and plastic for quick repairs
- Cash (ATMs may not be operating)
- 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
- 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
- Manual can opener for food
- Local maps
- Cell phone with chargers, inverter or solar charger
- Locate a safe room or safest areas in your home for each hurricane hazard. In certain circumstances, the safest areas may not be your home, but within your community.
- Determine escape routes from your home and alternative places to meet. These should be measured in tens of miles rather than hundreds of miles.
- Have a friend as a family contact, so all your family members have a single point of contact.
- Make a plan for what to do with your pets, if you need to evacuate.
- Make a list of post-emergency telephone numbers and web sites, and make sure your children know how and when to call 911.
- Check your insurance coverage. Flood damage is not usually covered by homeowners insurance.
- Stock non-perishable emergency supplies and an emergency supply kit.
- Use a weather radio. Remember to replace its battery every six months, as you do with your smoke detectors.
- Take first aid, CPR and disaster preparedness classes.
Myth #1: Taping my windows will protect them in a storm.
According to the National Weather Service, tape does little to protect your windows from flying debris. Even if they don't break, there's still the issue of removal after the storm. Your best protection is to cover the windows with plywood or special hurricane shutters. Most importantly, stay away from all windows during a dangerous storm.
Myth #2: My homeowner's insurance will cover any flood damage.
According to the Texas Department of Insurance, only flood insurance will cover damage from flooding. They urge you to be aware that homeowners and commercial property policies specifically exclude coverage for damage from flooding. Flood insurance must be purchased separately from the National Flood Insurance Program. However, there is a 30-day waiting period after the purchase date before coverage takes effect. Review your coverage and policy limits. They also recommend making a home inventory. Photograph or videotape each room and the exterior of your home. List serial numbers on the items you can. Keep your inventory, your insurance policy, and any other important documents in a safe deposit box or other secure spot. If your home or property is damaged, accurate records can help speed up the claims.
Myth #3: You can wait until the last minute before a storm to purchase a standby generator.
Generator sales and installations typically peak during periods of severe weather, such as hurricane season, so it's best to plan ahead as much as reasonably possible. Plus, proper installation of a standby generator requires the knowledge and expertise of trained and licensed professionals, such as participating dealers in CenterPoint Energy's Natural Gas Standby Generator program. Remember, August and September are the peak months for hurricane season so don't wait for the next storm to appear in the Gulf – contact a participating dealer today.
View Video: Building Your Hurricane Kit