Hitting close to home

Now that it’s June and summer has settling in to stay for the next four months, many local residents are dreaming of a trip to the coast.

We’ve been fortunate enough to have been invited down to the beach for two of the last three weekends. And what has impressed us the most is the way these coastal communities have rebounded from recent powerful hurricanes.

Hurricane Ike decimated the Galveston area in September 2008, but the Bolivar Peninsula has come back with a vengeance, as hundreds of new, colorful, well-built homes on stilts look out over the dunes and waves.

Port Aransas, in our view, was even more impressive, battling back from Harvey just two years ago. Most of the island stores and seafood restaurants are back, with only a few vacant lots reminding people where other cottages and businesses once stood.

Perhaps that’s a good thing in one respect. Many Coastal Bend residents had grown complacent about the advisories and warnings issued over the years, since the last devastating tropical cyclone to strike this region had been Celia which blasted Corpus Christi way back in 1970.

With Harvey still fresh on our minds, it’s easier to heed the numerous appeals from the Department of Homeland Security, American Red Cross, NOAA, FEMA and DPS, among the many agencies reminding us hurricane season began June 1 and does not conclude until Nov. 30.

Although tropical moisture from a system in the Gulf of Mexico was bringing heavy rain and possible flash flooding along the Texas coast this week, most severe hurricanes have hit near here in August or September.

According to State Rep. Todd Hunter’s office, the Texas Division of Emergency Management and National Weather Service urge all coastal residents to have these items on their checklist and in their evacuation kits:

• First-aid kit, prescription medications, eyeglasses, copies of prescriptions, other special medical items, hearing aids and batteries

• Important documents and records, photo IDs, proof of residence, information to process insurance claims

• Credit cards and cash (if power is out, banks and ATMs may not be available)

• Battery-operated radio, NOAA weather radio and extra batteries

• Phone numbers of family, friends and other important phone numbers

Also included were a three-day supply of non-perishable food, bottled water, can openers, knife and other tools, extra keys, blankets, pillows, sleeping bags, baby supplies, toilet paper and pet supplies.

Most importantly, plan an evacuation route and let others, friends or family members, know your destination.

Bee Countians realize, after witnessing the destruction of Harvey nearby in Port A, Rockport and Refugio County, the physical damage from hurricanes can be devastating.

Don’t wait until the last minute. The time is now to start planning for the next storm.