June 23 will mark one month since a rare microburst exhaled a devastating blast of wind across Sealy and Austin County. In the storm’s aftermath a swath of destruction and injury was revealed.
We are blessed that none of our residents or visitors were seriously injured, or worse. The immediate action of our first responders, city and county public works employees, and those rushing to our aide from across the region was amazing; departments and agencies worked seamlessly to prevent additional injury while also rescuing the wounded and those trapped in the remains of their homes. CenterPoint Energy made quick work of repairing our electric utility infrastructure; they made it look easy, but we know differently. The cleanup and rebuilding continue.
The piles of debris, the leafless and broken trees, and tarp-covered roofless houses I saw in my travels through Sealy and Austin County this past week give away that those displaced still have far to go to return to a sense of normalcy.
My travels also included the Lazy River area and Stephen F. Austin State Park – areas devastated during the April and May 2016 floods. The freshly-painted buildings and rebuilt homes have an uplifting affect while the vacant lots and lifeless structures loudly proclaim that normal is still far away. Nonetheless, the resiliency, determination, and indomitable spirit of those whom I serve make me proud to be a part of this community and a member of the Austin County family.
With the aforementioned weather related events still fresh in our minds we cannot lose sight of our safety and preparedness while we rebuild and heal; we are already headlong into the 2017 Atlantic Basin hurricane season.
The “NOAA expects 11 to 17 named storms this season, more than the 30-year average for the Atlantic Basin.”
Sealy might well end up in the crosshairs of a hurricane or its remnants. The Federal Emergency Management Administration has a very profound adage: When there is no hurricane: Make a hurricane plan. The components of a hurricane plan are to understand your risk, make an emergency plan, make a disaster supply kit, purchase flood insurance, familiarize yourself with local emergency plans, and be able to receive wireless emergency alerts. If you haven’t already, visit www.Austincounty.com and sign up for the new emergency notification system by clicking the “Regroup” button on the homepage. To find out how you can become better prepared go to www.texasprepares.org or www.nhc.noaa.gov/prepare or www.FEMA.gov
Hurricanes are not surprises; we know when one is coming. Prepare now! If we are subjected to another disaster, the courageous members of our community, its first responders, public employees, and elected officials stand ready to face that challenge.
Love where you live Sealy, Texas!
Chris Noble is the police chief at Sealy Police Department.