June 1 is the first official day of hurricane season. Is it possible that because Hurricane Harvey made its appearance on the coast last summer, Texas will be better prepared before this year’s storms hit? Texas Standard Host David Brown spoke to three Texans who were directly affected by the storm. They shared their experiences and tips for this hurricane season to come.
Sharon McKinney is the superintendent of the Port Aransas Independent School District. PAISD faced $12 million in damage since Hurricane Harvey, not including the district’s athletic facilities and bus barn. McKinney says that despite emergency operations and safety plans, it takes time for everything to get back to normal.
“I wish I had known that everything would take so much longer than you expect,” McKinney says. “When you’re waiting on insurance, waiting on insurance adjusters, waiting on engineers… Everything just takes longer and is more complicated than you could ever imagine.”
Joe McComb, the mayor of Corpus Christi, says that the most important choice he had to make was whether to issue an evacuation order for the city. He says that the choice to do that is not as simple as leave or don’t leave.
“If you congest all your highways, and [people] get hung up in traffic congestion, you’re putting them potentially at more risk than they would be at their home,” McComb says. “But for those areas that are immediately adjacent to the Gulf, you probably would make the call to evacuate a little sooner. We did not make the call to evacuate in Corpus Christi based on all the data that we had, and it turned out to be the right decision.”
Rev. Danny Yang, senior pastor of Westbury United Methodist Church in Houston, says the most important lesson he learned during Harvey was the importance of communities in times of crisis. Yang opened up his church during the storm as a refuge center.
“Every time we mentioned ‘we need help here,’ everyone showed up to do what they could,” Yang says. “They would bring meals or they would go buy water. Whatever a person could do to help love one another, they were willing to do it.”
Yang says he learned practical lessons about protecting objects by raising them above ground.
“On a much more deep and meaningful and significant level,” he says “get to know your neighbors.”
Written by Haley Butler.