By Elsa Maxey
For those that stocked up on canned goods and bottled water over the last couple of months starting in June, many are probably glad that it turned out to be for nothing. Hurricane season in the Gulf Coast area impacting Fort Bend County, which runs for six months and ends the last day of November, will have turned out to be quiet. There were no hurricanes reaching landfall. It’s something to be thankful for this season. If the stocked up food items are in the way, food pantries would welcome them as donations, especially this time of the year.
Those here when Hurricane Ike hit in 2008, probably remember the massive power outages and that’s probably what most readily comes to mind. Some in Fort Bend County were reported to have been without electricity for almost two weeks.
Even though this hurricane season was quiet, emergency management officials are always quick to point out that it only takes one storm to make it a bad year. The Fort Bend Office of Emergency Management (OEM) maintains a close relationship with the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), which is the federal agency focusing on the condition of the oceans and the atmosphere. It issues seasonal forecasts in May and updates in August.
This go-round the hurricane update called for a 70 percent chance of an above-normal season across the Atlantic Basin and 13 to 19 storms were named, including some of them predicted to have winds of 39 mph and higher, some with 74 mph winds, and up to five were predicted to develop into major category hurricanes of at least 111 mph.
The first hurricane of this season, named Humberto, a Category 1 hurricane that escalated to 85 mph winds, showed up on Sept. 11, but officials reported it did not reach landfall. It weakened to a tropical storm. In Sept. 2007, there was another Hurricane Humberto impacting this area’s Gulf Coast. It made landfall less than 50 miles from where Hurricane Rita did in 2005, report authorities. Galveston County’s OEM called on assistance from key individuals serving as part of the emergency network of the Fort Bend County OEM. The Bolivar Peninsula, High Island, Gilchrist, Crystal Beach and Port Bolivar were all affected with road closures, power outages, and some flooding.
Those having experienced flooding, downed trees and other turbulent weather condition outcomes are relieved the hurricane activity impacting Fort Bend this season was way below normal…and they’re thankful. That horn of empty is a horn of plenty!