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Preparing for Impact: How Municipalities Should Prepare for a Storm in the Gulf of Mexico

07.13.2022

DURATION 3 minute read

Tropical weather can be unpredictable but preparing for it shouldn’t. We are at the beginning of hurricane season and have already seen several tropical storms in the Atlantic Ocean.

Thankfully, there has been little impact on the Houston area this season. Let the activity of this hurricane season, and recent storms serve as a reminder of how a tropical storm or hurricane can affect municipalities across the Houston-Metro region – making it all the more important to ensure your team is prepared when a storm forms or enters the Gulf of Mexico.

We previously discussed how municipalities can prepare their teams, infrastructure, and communities for hurricane season, but there are a few additional steps that should be taken once there is a possibility your water system could be impacted by a tropical system. Our team understands every municipality is unique. With this in mind, we identified a broad list of considerations municipalities can refer to when a storm enters the Gulf of Mexico.

Most of these suggested activities involve coordinating materials and supplies that may be needed during a hurricane or tropical storm, including

  • Reviewing your communication plans with key personnel and interconnected water systems
  • Testing all emergency lighting, generators, and remote dial-up systems for proper function
  • Arranging for delivery of portable generators and other rental equipment
  • Topping off all fuel storage tanks for generators or auxiliary drives. Don’t forget to top off fuel for personnel vehicles
  • Checking chemical inventories and re-ordering if necessary. Consider having extra bleach on hand and calcium hypochlorite tablets for water line repairs
  • Replacing all fuel/oil filters on generators
  • Checking all normal and emergency communication equipment and charging or replacing batteries
  • Verifying that all spare pumps, motors, and other necessary spare parts are available and operable
  • Checking bacteriological sampling materials on hand
  • Filling all storage tanks with water including elevated storage tanks, if applicable
  • Utilizing means of mass communications to provide pertinent information to constituents
  • Taking inventory of sandbags and other supplies that can be used if necessary
  • Replenishing first aid as necessary
  • Protecting computers, tools, and other equipment from potential water damage

Do not wait to act! Having an emergency preparedness plan is a great first step toward hurricane season resiliency, but you must take action to prepare, implement, and update your plan to be successful.

These preparedness tips are only a few of our team’s recommendations and serve as a starting point to help ensure your water system is prepared when a storm enters the Gulf of Mexico. Contact our team to learn more about municipal emergency preparedness planning! We will work with you to help create a comprehensive emergency preparedness plan (EPP) that addresses the risks specific to your water system.

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