This year will mark five years since Hurricane Harvey roared ashore near Port Aransas, Texas as a devastating Category 4 storm. Harvey caused more than 100 deaths and displaced over 30,000 people as it flooded Houston and other parts of the state with more than 40 inches of rain. It’s only a matter of time until the next Harvey hits the state.
While the official start of hurricane season is June 1, for the last eight years named storms have formed prior to that date. That streak continued this year as Hurricane Agatha made landfall in Mexico over the Memorial Day weekend. Forecasters are looking towards yet another active season for 2022. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Climate Prediction Center is predicting 14 to 21 named storms (winds of 39 mph or higher), of which six to 10 could become hurricanes (winds of 74 mph or higher), including three to six major hurricanes (Category 3, 4 or 5; with winds of 111 mph or higher). NOAA provides these ranges with 70% confidence.
Texas has been spared from severe hurricanes since Harvey. Although there have been five named storms to hit Texas in the last five years, including Hurricane Nicholas in 2021, but none brought the damage and death toll of Hurricane Harvey. It’s not a matter of “if” the next major hurricane will hit Texas, but “when." The time to start preparing is now.
When Hurricane Harvey hit Texas in 2017, over half of the homes flooded during that storm were outside of the FEMA flood zone. Flood damage isn’t covered by a typical homeowners insurance policy – a separate flood policy is required to have protection. Flood insurance is available through the private insurance market, or from the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), sold through insurance carriers and backed by the federal government through FEMA. It’s important to shop NOW, well before any storms threaten, as the NFIP has a 30-day waiting period on most policies.
Our changing climate has meant that hurricanes and other weather events are getting more severe with each passing year. A storm stronger and more damaging than Hurricane Harvey will hit Texas in the future. Are you ready?
Tips from the Insurance Council of Texas: How to Prepare for Hurricane Season
- All Texans should start by reviewing their insurance policies to make sure they have the right coverage and protection in place:
- Ensure they have adequate coverage amounts on their homes and property. The cost of construction has increased considerably in the last year due to market forces, inflation, and supply chain issues impacting the cost of building materials.
- Review dwelling amounts and insurance coverages with your insurance agent or company is a great idea.
- Create a home inventory to be better prepared for the claims process that happens after a loss. Walk through your home, recording each room and documenting the items you own, then email the file to yourself or store it in the cloud to access later.
- Sign up for weather alerts and plan evacuation route in the event of a hurricane.
- Create an Emergency Kit: Be prepared for any severe weather event – hurricane, tornado, hard freeze, or even wildfire - by creating an emergency disaster supply kit. A basic kit includes:
- Enough water for several days for each person in your household (a gallon a day is recommended).
- Non-perishable food.
- Battery powered radio, flashlight, first aid kit, and extra batteries and cell phone chargers.
- Other items you may need include medicines, pet food, cash, and copies of important documents like your insurance policy.
- See a full list of recommended items at ready.gov.
About the Insurance Council of Texas
The Insurance Council of Texas is a nonprofit trade association that promotes the property and casualty insurance industry by providing relevant information and resources to its members, the public, regulators, and the media. Learn more at www.insurancecouncil.org.
ICT staff is available for phone and online interviews. Contact Rich Johnson, director of communications and public affairs at firstname.lastname@example.org or (512) 637-5440.