Better Business Bureau offers advice as Harvey redevelops in Gulf of Mexico
Although there have been close calls, a hurricane has not made landfall in Corpus Christi since Hurricane Celia in 1970. With wind gusts of up to 180 mph Celia caused over $500 million in damage. According to the National Weather Service office (www.weather.gov) Harvey is expected to bring multiple hazards to portions of the Texas Coast beginning Friday. Several days of heavy rainfall are likely to cross through Texas, Louisiana and the lower Mississippi Valley from Friday to early next week. This rainfall could cause life-threatening floods. For more information on Harvey and flooding hazards contact the NOAA National Hurricane Center at http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/#harvey.
According to the National Weather Service, floods were responsible for nearly 130 deaths in the U.S. in 2016. If there is the possibility of a flood in your area, do the following:
- High Ground- Go to higher ground immediately. Avoid small rivers or streams, low spots, canyons, dry riverbeds, etc.
- Water- Do not try to walk through flowing water that is more than ankle deep. Do not allow children to play around streams, drainage ditches or viaducts, storm drains, or other flooded areas.
- Vehicle- Do not drive through flooded areas. Even shallow water should be avoided. The majority of deaths due to flash flooding involve people driving through flooded areas. Water only one-foot deep can displace 1500 lbs! Two feet of water can easily carry most automobiles.
Your Better Business has the following tips to keep in mind before, during and after a storm:
Should You Evacuate?
If you live in a coastal or low-lying area, an area that floods frequently or in manufactured housing, you may be advised to evacuate and you should do so without delay.
Weathering the Storm at Home
If you stay at home, create a disaster supply kit with the following items:
- Flashlight and extra batteries
- Portable battery-operated radio and extra batteries
- First aid kit and first aid manual
- Non-perishable food and water
- Non-electric can opener
- Essential medicines or prescriptions
- Cash and credit cards
- Important phone numbers
- Shoes and appropriate clothing
- Blankets, bedding or sleeping bags
- Baby wipes or waterless antibacterial cleansers
Hurricanes can spawn tornadoes, the most violent atmospheric phenomenon on the planet. Winds of 200-300 mph can occur with the most powerful tornadoes. When a tornado warning has been issued for your area, do the following:
- Plan ahead: Know the safest area in your home or office and crate your pets in an interior room.
- In a home or small building: go to the basement or an interior room on the lowest floor, such as a closet or bathroom. Wrap yourself in overcoats or blankets to protect yourself from flying debris.
- In a school, hospital, factory or shopping center: go to interior rooms and halls on the lowest floor. Stay away from glass enclosed places or areas with wide- span roofs such as auditoriums and warehouses. Crouch down and cover your head.
- In a high-rise building: go to interior small rooms or halls. Stay away from exterior walls or glassy areas.
- In cars or mobile homes: ABANDON THEM IMMEDIATELY!!! Most deaths occur in cars and mobile homes. If you are in either of those locations, leave them and go to a substantial structure or designated tornado shelter.
Hurricane and Price Gouging
Price gouging is illegal in Texas and the Attorney General has authority to prosecute any business that engages in price gouging after a disaster has been declared by the governor.
The Texas Deceptive Trade Practices-Consumer Protection Act forbids selling or leasing fuel, food, medicine or another necessity at an excessive price.
Some of the most common "after-disaster" scams involve home repairs, clean-up efforts, heating and cooling equipment, and flood-damaged cars.
- Check with your insurance company about policy coverage and specific filing requirements the company may have.
- Although you may be anxious to get things back to normal, avoid acting in haste. Don't be pressured into signing a long-term contract.
- Shop around for contractors, get competitive bids, check out references and licensing requirements, and get a report from the BBB.
- Be wary of door-to-door workers who claim your home is unsafe. If you are concerned about possible structural damage in your home, have an engineer, architect, or building official inspect it.
- Prepare a written agreement with anyone you hire. It should delineate the work to be done, the materials to be used, and the price breakdown for both labor and materials. Review it carefully before signing. Never pay for all repairs in advance, and don't pay cash.
Hurricane Emergency Contacts:
EVACUATION INFORMATION: 2-1-1 (https://www.211texas.org/211/)
FOOD STAMPS: 1-800-221-5689
RED CROSS: 1-800-733-2767
ATTORNEY GENERAL: 1-800-252-8011
ROADSIDE ASSISTANCE: 1-800-525-5555
TXDOT STATEWIDE ROAD CLOSURE INFO: 1-800-452-9292
RELAY SERVICE: 7-1-1
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