Storms and threats of storms affect Fort Bend County every year. Hurricane season reminds many of Alicia, Ike, Alison, and Rita, so when a storm threatens the region residents seek information about its expected impact. The county’s Office of Emergency Management (OEM) has a new tool to help you predict a storm’s impact: the “Houston Hide from the Wind” website. The tool that helped people in Houston find forecasted wind speed during Hurricane Ike now includes 13 counties in the greater Houston area.
“We are very happy to be a part of this,” said Doug Barnes, Senior Planning Coordinator for the county’s OEM, “our residents now have access to the same critical information about a storms forcasted impact.”
The site maps data from the National Hurricane Center. It shows the expected effects of wind during a hurricane. The site allows people view active hurricane evacuation zones and expected wind speeds by zip code. The data from this tool should help them compare the expected wind speed to recent hurricane effects.
With no storm forecast for the region, the site shows sample data. When the NHC updates models for an oncoming storm, the county’s Office of Emergency Management will send an FBC Alert notifying citizens of the update.
“Residents need emergency information in a format they understand so they can make informed decisions about their safety,” said Jeff Braun, Emergency Management Coordinator for the county. “In the past this tool has been a great help to the City of Houston, we’re excited to offer this site to people in Fort Bend County”.
Houston Hide from the Wind allows residents to predict the threat of storm winds.
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Regional Catastrophic Preparedness Grant Program (RCPGP) paid for the expansion of the Houston Hide from the Wind tool. “Multiple governments came together to help bring this important tool to the entire 13-county region,” said Mel Bartis, the Regional Planning Coordinator for RCPGP, “This project really shows how the cities and counties in the Houston region continue to innovate, and collaborate to improve tools that help keep our communities safe.”
The goal is to help residents who live outside areas with a storm surge threat to make plans to shelter-in-place during storms. Doing so frees up evacuation routes for residents with a greater threat from storm surge.
Visit HoustonHideFromTheWind.org to see the new design and sample storm data. You can also find the link under the Hurricanes menu item on the Fort Bend County Office of Emergency Management website.