MARY MEAUX — Hurricane season is here, be prepared

Published 12:04 am Thursday, June 2, 2022

Here we are in the first week of June where thoughts turn to summer fun.

From what I’m seeing on social media, people are taking vacations and trips to the beach and now I’m eager to get out and play.

But June also means it’s the start of hurricane season.

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Yes, that dreaded time where those of us on the Gulf coast keep an eye on the tropics. This season marks anniversaries of past storms, which should prompt us to prepare. Rita — the first major storm to devastate our area in decades was 17 years ago this year, Ike was 14 years ago and Harvey was 5 years ago.

And if you haven’t noticed, the tropics are alive already with the remnants of the Pacific Ocean formed Hurricane Agatha. The storm is downgraded but is expected to reignite over the northwestern Caribbean Sea and southeastern Gulf of Mexico. If this happens it will become Alex, the first named storm of the 2022 Atlantic Hurricane Season.

Forecasters are expecting the storm, should it form, to head toward Florida.

The National Hurricane Center also shows an area northeast of the Bahamas that could develop though its path is away from land.

While there is no threat to our area now is the time to prepare; create a family disaster plan, review all insurance policies and stock up on canned or prepared food, water and other essential items. Try and keep your vehicles gassed up.

Other tips include storing valuables, papers and photos in a dry and secure place, trim tree branches close to home and if plywood shutters are needed for your home, go ahead and purchase them now and cut to fit your windows, according to the National Weather Service.

There are many other ways to prep for the season. Determine safe evacuation routes inland. The Texas Department of Public Safety has this on their website. Check your emergency equipment such as flashlights, generators and battery powered NOAA Weather Radio, learn the location of official shelters and make emergency plans for pets.

This year’s storm names are: Alex, Bonnie, Colin, Danielle, Earl, Fiona, Gaston, Hermine, Ian, Julia, Karl, Lisa, Martin, Nicole, Owen, Paula, Richard, Shary, Tobias, Virginie and Walter.

This season is predicted to be above normal season but remember, it only takes one storm to devastate an area.

Mary Meaux is a news reporter at The Port Arthur News. She can be reached at mary.meaux@panews.com