The Atlantic hurricane season is not even halfway over, so don’t let your guard down yet, KTRK Meteorologist Travis Herzog told guests at the Aug. 4 luncheon of the Greater Cleveland Chamber of Commerce.
With four months of hurricane season left, Southeast Texans would be wise to remember that the worst hurricanes and tropical storms to ever hit Southeast Texas happened after June and July, Herzog said.
He said that every household should have an emergency preparedness plan, which includes storing enough water and food for family members and pets for three days. Before a storm, he recommends trimming back trees that may endanger a house, business or structure, and to make sure gutters are free of debris.
Herzog said it is important to get storm information from reputable, trusted sources.
“We are in what is the disinformation age. Make sure you find a source that you can trust and believe in, and that they have proven themselves over time,” he said.
Naturally, the coastal communities are the most at risk, especially from storm surge. Ninety percent of people who die from hurricanes are from drowning, most from storm surge, Herzog said.
As Liberty County is considered a pass-through county, and is not threatened by storm surge, the recommendation is to hunker down and not evacuate.
“The best way to love our neighbors who are on the coast is to stay out of the way and let them evacuate,” Herzog said. “Run from the water and hide from the wind.”
In recent years, the technology of tracking hurricanes has advanced, making it possible for weather experts to make better predictions of where a storm will make landfall.
“A five-day forecast today is as accurate as a one-day forecast from the 80s,” he said.
Herzog touched on the current drought impacting Texas, and said that as bad as it may seem, it still pales in comparison to the 2011 drought. Seventy-three percent of Texas was suffering from severe drought conditions during 2011. Currently, 19 percent of the state is experiencing severe drought.
“We just went through the hottest July on record. It was the hottest June on record this year, and the second hottest May on record. Hopefully it won’t be the hottest August on record,” Herzog said.
He explained that one of the primary reasons for this year’s drought is La Niña, an atmospheric and oceanic phenomenon that impacts weather patterns.
“They usually don’t last this long. It’s an extended period of La Niña,” he said.
Drought conditions aren’t expected to let up any time soon, according to Herzog, unless the area gets another very wet tropical storm or hurricane.
At the Chamber luncheon, it was announced that the departure of Board President Raylene Atkinson, who moved to be closer to her parents, created some shifting of board members. Regina Vollmer was picked to finish Atkinson’s term as board president. The incoming chair who will take over next is Camille Landry. The treasurer is Kari Duggar. The remaining board members are Past Chair West Smith, Aaron Weddington, Ashleigh Broussard Carter, Brian Garcia, David Martin, James Wall, Lynette Jackson, Susan Ard and Tasha Childress. Martin was picked for Vollmer’s former seat on the board and Jackson was picked to replace Chester Holloway, who recently resigned.
Scenic Snowcones, owned by Wendy Keniry, was welcomed as a new member of the Chamber.
The next Chamber luncheon is on Thursday, Sept. 1. For more information on the Chamber or to sign up to attend the luncheon, go online to https://www.clevelandtxchamber.com/.