Disaster preparation, recovery info available through Texas EDEN
COLLEGE STATION – The Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service usually provides timely safety tips related to outdoor grilling as one of the traditional Memorial Day weekend activities. But during this Memorial Day weekend, it’s water, not fire, that is the main “element” of safety concern, said Dr. Joyce Cavanagh, AgriLife Extension specialist in family development and resource management, College Station.
“Rain is expected throughout a large portion of the state during the Memorial Day weekend, and we want to remind Texans to be alert to the possibility of flash floods and to take proper precautions when driving, especially at low-water crossings,” Cavanagh said. “We don’t want people to have bad memories of Memorial Day by taking chances that endanger their safety. We also want to remind them that we have many emergency and disaster preparedness and recovery materials available to them.”
Andy Vestal, an AgriLife Extension specialist and expert in disaster and emergency preparation, said the soil profile in many areas of the state has already reached the saturation point, so little or no additional moisture in those areas can be absorbed from the rains forecast for the Memorial Day weekend.
“If it rains in an already saturated area, there will be a lot of runoff, with can mean flash floods or overflows that may impair roadways or possibly damage homes and other property,” Vestal said. “We want Texans to be aware of their local conditions and to remember to stay off the roads if heavy rains are expected, as well as to remember to respect barricades and not take unnecessary chances at low-water crossings. It only takes a few inches of water for someone to lose control of their car.”
Driving at night in heavy rain is particularly dangerous, with the majority of flash-flood fatalities occurring in vehicles taking place at night, according to the National Weather Service.
Cavanagh said AgriLife Extension materials related to floods and other emergencies and disasters can be found in e-book format on the Texas Extension Disaster Education Network, Texas EDEN, website at http://texashelp.tamu.edu. E-book materials may be downloaded to any mobile device supporting the e-book format, including phones, tablets and e-readers.
“These disaster preparedness and recovery materials provide information on how individuals, families and businesses can prepare for and recover from a disaster, including flooding,” Cavanagh said. “They contain practical, useful information provided by AgriLife and Texas A&M University System experts, as well as experts from state and federal agencies and from throughout the national land-grant university Extension system.”
She said AgriLife Extension is also supporting Hurricane Preparedness Week, which is the last week of May, and agency personnel are reminding Texas residents of the many hurricane preparation and recovery materials available through the agency and the Texas EDEN site.
“The Atlantic hurricane season starts June 1, so now is the time to begin building awareness and to get ready,” Vestal said. “We are supporting the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the National Hurricane Center and other organizations to increase public awareness related to hurricane preparation.”
AgriLife Extension disaster and emergency preparation and recovery information can also be found on social media at http://www.facebook.com/txeden, http://twitter.com/txeden and http://pinterest.com/texashelp.