Hurricane

Emmett: 2018 Hurricane Season Demands Different Mindset Than During Harvey

Officials are stressing the differences between Harvey’s impact on the Houston area and what a direct hurricane impact would look like

Harris County Judge Ed Emmett speaks to reporters at the Harris County Emergency Operations Center on Friday June 1, 2018, the first day of hurricane season.

Nine months after Hurricane Harvey hit the Texas coast, a new hurricane season begins. However, Harris County officials are urging residents not to take the storm as an example for future hurricanes. 

At a press briefing, Harris County Judge Ed Emmett stressed to reporters the difference between Harvey and a future hurricane making direct landfall on the region.

When asked if the attention focused on Harvey in the months sense the storm may have caused ‘disaster fatigue,’ causing fewer people to pay attention to media reports and conversations surrounding hurricanes, Emmett expressed a different attitude. 

“I’m kind of worried about the opposite. I think that it is so fresh on people’s minds that everyone wants to view this summer through the lens of Harvey, and that would be a mistake. Every storm is different,” he said. “Harvey was not a hurricane when it hit us, it was a massive rain storm that stayed over our area.”

While Harvey caused devastation through continued rainfall causing widespread flooding, it spared the greater Houston area from strong winds and storm surge, risks typically associated with hurricane landfall.

“If a hurricane forms in the Gulf and comes our way, if people react with Harvey on their mind then we’re going to end up with a Rita-style evacuation all over again,” Emmett said. 

It is estimated around 100 people died trying evacuate for Rita, something officials have been trying to avoid since the 2005 storm.

Emmett said he’s been telling people to know the area they live in, if the risk is flooding, wind, or storm surge, and to have a disaster kit and an evacuation plan.

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Davis Land

Davis Land

General Assignments Reporter

Davis Land is a general assignment reporter for Houston Public Media. He cut his teeth at Atlantic Public Media/Transom.org in Woods Hole, MA and at WBUR in Boston. His work has appeared on various public radio programs and podcasts including Texas Standard, Here and Now, and Marketplace. Davis is a...

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