June 1 will mark the beginning of hurricane season, which lasts through November 30.
In preparation, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Galveston held a Hurricane Preparedness Townhall meeting for district staff, May 11, 2023.
Dozens of people attended in person and dozens more attended and asked questions via the web.
Alicia Rea, Director of Emergency Management and Security, led the meeting.
Rea explained, living on the Texas Gulf Coast means living with and through hurricanes, but it’s better to stay ready rather than get ready with short notice.
Lance Wood, National Weather Service, joined the meeting virtually from Houston and gave some history of recent storms and a forecast of the potential storm threats this year.
Wood said, late August through mid-September has been the most likely time for a hurricane to make landfall on the Texas coast, but there have been tropical storms in May and hurricanes can come as late as November.
In the last six years, the southeast United States and Gulf Coast has seen six hurricanes make landfall, Wood said, four Category 4 storms with windspeeds of 130 to 156 miles per hour and two Category 5’s with windspeeds more than 156 mph. Wind isn’t the only danger when it comes to hurricanes; extreme rainfall can extend many miles beyond the high wind speeds, resulting in catastrophic flooding which may make evacuation nearly impossible.
According to Rea, understanding and preparing for hurricane risks helps USACE employees prepare themselves and their families for emergencies, as well as expedite assisting communities outside Galveston.
ENGLink Pro is an important program for Emergency Management, Rea said. Everyone should keep their EngLink Pro account up to date.
The Galveston District now has its own Emergency Management Planning and Response Team, Rea said, and those interested in volunteering during an emergency should keep their emergency profiles up to date and ask EM for more information.
“We are emergency support function number three, critical public facilities,” Rea said. “After Hurricane Harvey rained over east Texas for days, many important public buildings were flooded and unsafe. SWG teams set up a temporary mayor’s office and temporary schools for Orangefield Independent School District and Mauriceville ISD in Texas.”
Accountability is a commander’s top priority in an emergency, Rea said, so USACE employees should check their Alert! Client Account Dashboard today and update any changes, using their primary phone number and email address to facilitate accountability and receive the unit’s emergency messaging.
According to Teri Conley, SWG Emergency Management Specialist, Another tool for accountability is ADPAAS, the Army Disaster Personnel Accountability and Assessment System, and it should be updated along with Alert! and EngLink. Updating ADPAAS shouldn’t take more than 30 minutes.
Links & Resources:
Visit the Houston/Galveston National Weather Service at: https://www.weather.gov/hgx/