Coastal Storms & Hurricanes
What to do when a Hurricane Watch is issued:
Monitor radio and TV broadcasts for information regarding the storm's progress.
Fuel-up the family or rental car.
Refill prescriptions for your family and pets, ensuring at least a two-week supply.
Get cash, since ATMs and banks may run out of money before the storm or not be operational following the storm.
Review your plans. Locate evacuation routes which will take you inland to save shelter.
What to do when a Hurricane Warning is issued:
Monitor radio and TV broadcasts for storm advisories and evacuation announcements.
Gather belongings in case of evacuation order.
The term “RUN FROM THE WATER, HIDE FROM THE WIND” describes the simple actions to protect families from the affects of a hurricane including high winds, storm surge, heavy rains and tornadoes. Areas close to the Gulf Coast are categorized as evacuation zones. The Sugar Land area is not subject to the affects of storm surge and is not included in an evacuation zone. Hurricanes would not normally result in an evacuation for residents of Sugar Land and Fort Bend County. However, the threatened landfall of a Category 4 or 5 Hurricane may result in the need to evacuate Sugar Land.
State Highway 6, State Highway 99 U.S. Highway 59 and U.S. Highway 90-A are designated as hurricane evacuation routes. During an evacuation, coastal residents from Galveston and Brazoria Counties will travel through Fort Bend County and Sugar Land. Local residents are urged to avoid these roadways during a period of evacuation. Many intersections will be blocked and lights will be set to allow traffic to move away from the coast. The Texas Department of Transportation will “contra-flow” many highways to handle the increase in traffic moving inland. The state plan also calls for additional fuel, water and food to be made available along evacuation routes.
Many individuals may not have access to vehicles or transportation to evacuate. Persons that need special assistance to evacuate should contact the Sugar Land Department of Emergency Management at (281) 275-2860 or (281) 275-2864 to participate in the Special Needs Registration process.
Hurricane shelters are not normally opened in Sugar Land or Fort Bend County. Few buildings in the area are designed to withstand the winds associated with a category 4 or 5 Hurricane. Should an evacuation be called for Sugar Land, residents should move inland and not rely on suitable shelters in the immediate area. The location of shelters will be announced in the media, with certain zones directed to specific inland shelters and special need residents bussed to designated shelters.
The National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) provides the following explanation ...
The Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Scale is a 1-5 rating based on the hurricane's present intensity. This is used to give an estimate of the potential property damage and flooding expected along the coast from a hurricane landfall. Wind speed is the determining factor in the scale.
Category One Hurricane
Winds 74-95 mph (64-82 kt or 119-153 km/hr). Storm surge generally 4-5 feet above normal. No real damage to building structures. Damage primarily to unanchored mobile homes, shrubbery, and trees. Some damage to poorly constructed signs. Also, some coastal road flooding and minor pier damage.
Category Two Hurricane
Winds 96-110 mph (83-95 kt or 154-177 km/hr). Storm surge generally 6-8 feet above normal. Some roofing material, door, and window damage of buildings. Considerable damage to shrubbery and trees with some trees blown down. Considerable damage to mobile homes, poorly constructed signs, and piers. Coastal and low-lying escape routes flood 2-4 hours before arrival of the hurricane center. Small craft in unprotected anchorages break moorings.
Category Three Hurricane
Winds 111-130 mph (96-113 kt or 178-209 km/hr). Storm surge generally 9-12 feet above normal. Some structural damage to small residences and utility buildings with a minor amount of curtain wall failures. Damage to shrubbery and trees with foliage blown off trees and large trees blown down. Mobile homes and poorly constructed signs are destroyed. Low-lying escape routes are cut by rising water 3-5 hours before arrival of the center of the hurricane. Flooding near the coast destroys smaller structures with larger structures damaged by battering from floating debris. Terrain continuously lower than 5 feet above mean sea level may be flooded inland 8 miles (13 km) or more. Evacuation of low-lying residences with several blocks of the shoreline may be required.
Category Four Hurricane
Winds 131-155 mph (114-135 kt or 210-249 km/hr). Storm surge generally 13-18 feet above normal. More extensive curtain wall failures with some complete roof structure failures on small residences. Shrubs, trees, and all signs are blown down. Complete destruction of mobile homes.
Extensive damage to doors and windows. Low-lying escape routes may be cut by rising water 3-5 hours before arrival of the center of the hurricane. Major damage to lower floors of structures near the shore. Terrain lower than 10 ft above sea level may be flooded requiring massive evacuation of residential areas as far inland as 6 miles (10 km).
Category Five Hurricane
Winds greater than 155 mph (135 kt or 249 km/hr). Storm surge generally greater than 18 feet above normal. Complete roof failure on many residences and industrial buildings. Some complete building failures with small utility buildings blown over or away. All shrubs, trees, and signs blown down. Complete destruction of mobile homes. Severe and extensive window and door damage. Low-lying escape routes are cut by rising water 3-5 hours before arrival of the center of the hurricane. Major damage to lower floors of all structures located less than 15 feet above sea level and within 500 yards of the shoreline. Massive evacuation of residential areas on low ground within 5-10 miles (8-16 km) of the shoreline may be required.
Build a Kit
Make a Family Communications Plan
ready.gov — Comprehensive Hurricane information
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National Weather Service — Forecast Office
Emergency Preparedness for Older Adults — Links to information, tools, and resources to assist in multi sector planning for older adults in all-hazard emergencies.