Hurricane season can be a scary time in Texas. Even though Laredo is not directly on the gulf coast, we have still felt the effects of storms like Hurricane Harvey. Flooding from rain saturating the ground and filling the Rio Grande River can be frightening and devastating, leaving people in Laredo and surrounding areas without power, or even without their homes. Severe weather events can make us all feel helpless, but there are steps you can take before, during, and after a storm to not only help prevent home and property damage but also make the recovery process a little easier for you and your family.
The first step is to prepare when there is not a weather emergency on the horizon. Take steps to educate yourself and know your area’s risk for severe weather and flooding. Laredo Weather is prone to almost every extreme weather situation (other than snow), so it’s important to be prepared for thunderstorms, tropical storms, and hurricanes that can bring large amounts of rain, strong winds, and damaging hail. Watch for any warning signs and be aware if you are in an area that is at risk for flash flooding. Depending on your location, it’s good to be aware of evacuation routes. Create a plan with your family or loved ones in advance of severe weather arriving so that everyone knows what to do and where to go should the worst-case scenario take place. If there is a significant threat looming, be sure to stock up on emergency necessities like water, food, flashlights, batteries, and first aid supplies.
During the Storm
This might seem like a no-brainer, but try to stay indoors during a storm. If the power goes out, try to avoid using candles and opt for flashlights instead. Avoid going outside unless absolutely necessary. If you are caught outside, try to find high ground to hunker down. Floodwaters can be contaminated with sewage or contain wildlife from the river, so do not try to walk or play in them.
After the Storm
The most challenging aspect of storm recovery can be what happens after the storm is over. If your house has flooded, or has even taken on just a small amount of water, it’s important to act quickly to prevent mold from forming. When it comes to flood cleanup, you will need to:
Throw away all materials that cannot be thoroughly cleaned. Be sure to take photos of all of your damaged property for insurance purposes.
Wash all curtains, rugs, clothing, bedding, and upholstery with at minimum soap and water, but use bleach wherever possible.
Dry all of your flooded areas thoroughly. Any area of your home that stays wet for more than 48 hours can grow mold. It’s best to throw away anything that cannot be dried completely. Run your kitchen and bathroom ventilation systems to keep air flowing through the house.
If your house has sustained a significant amount of flooding, hire a professional to help you clean up. Surfaces like drywall and insulation can be tough to properly remove once they are overrun with mold and can end up making you and your family sick.
It’s impossible to control the weather, and mother nature has thrown us some rough storms in recent years, but hopefully, with these tips, you will be better prepared for when the worst-case scenario comes around again.
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