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The Texas coast faces high hurricane risk each year. These powerful storms can cause significant property damage with whipping winds, torrential rains and floods. While hurricanes don’t hit Texas annually, they batter the state’s 50-mile coastline about once every six years on average. Understanding when the 2023 hurricane season will hit may help Texans prepare and reduce property damage.
When is hurricane season in Texas?
The official Texas hurricane season runs from June 1 to November 30, mirroring the rest of the U.S. However, August through October are generally considered to be the peak months for hurricane season, and most storm activity has historically occurred during these months. According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association (NOAA), about 78 percent of tropical storm days, 87 percent of minor hurricane days, and 96 percent of the major hurricane days occur during this 90-day window.
Are hurricanes common in Texas?
Texas has a long history of hurricanes, with the earliest recorded hurricane making landfall in this state in 1875. The next time a hurricane made landfall in Texas was 1893, when the Galveston Hurricane devastated the city. This storm would go down in history as the worst natural disaster in US history, claiming between 8,000 and 12,000 lives.
Since 1900, Texas has been more directly impacted by hurricanes than any other state except Florida. The average annual rate of tropical storms or hurricanes in Texas is 0.8. This means that Texans can expect an average of about three hurricanes or tropical storms to hit over a four-year span. Over the last 20 years, Texas has experienced the most direct impact from hurricanes, with Hurricane Harvey in 2015 being the deadliest and the most expensive. The worst hurricanes in Texas history include:
- Hurricane Carla (1961) – Category 4 hurricane, $1.9 billion in damage, 125 fatalities
- Hurricane Beulah (1967) – Category 5 hurricane, $1.6 billion in damage, 56 fatalities
- Hurricane Alicia (1983) – Category 3 hurricane, $1.3 billion in damage, 18 fatalities
- Hurricane Rita (2005) – Category 3 hurricane, $20.6 billion in damage, 11 fatalities
- Hurricane Ike (2008) – Category 3 hurricane, $32.3 billion in damage, 23 fatalities
- Hurricane Harvey (2015) – Category 4 hurricane, $125 billion in damage, 68 fatalities
Common types of hurricane damage
Hurricanes most commonly cause wind and flood damage, both of which can require extensive repairs to your home. When a hurricane makes landfall, the average sustained wind speeds range from 100-150 mph, with winds from stronger storms exceeding 200 mph.
If you’re in the path of the hurricane, there will likely be wind damage to your home. Structural damage, like damage to your roof or siding, is common. Hurricanes may also cause severe flooding due to storm surges or heavy rains. This can, in turn, cause serious damage to the interior and exterior, or total loss of, your home.
Serious flooding events like the ones caused by hurricanes have an average price tag of about $4.7 billion per event, according to NOAA. Severe storms have an average cost of $2.3 billion per event and are the most frequent type of disaster to occur.
How to prepare your home for hurricane season
Preparing your home and your family before a hurricane hits may help you avoid damage and stay safe.
1. Review your insurance policy
It’s important to take the time to look over your homeowners insurance policy prior to hurricane season. That way you’ll understand what your policy covers and what it does not before you need to file a claim. Many policies include exclusions, and it’s not uncommon to need endorsements or separate policies for certain types of coverage. For example, standard home insurance policies do not cover flooding. Insurance companies can impose moratoriums on adding coverage before a hurricane, so reviewing your policy may help ensure you have sufficient coverage in place before a storm is on the horizon.
2. Inspect and maintain your roof prior to hurricane season
Roof damage is common during hurricanes, but you can take steps beforehand to try and minimize impact to your roof. Prior to hurricane season, do an inspection of your roof to look for missing or damaged shingles. If you haven’t already, it may be helpful to check your roof’s pitch to make sure it’s steep enough to direct water away from your home.
3. Remove debris and loose items from your yard
Take time before hurricane season to clear your yard of any debris that could blow around in high winds or be moved by flood waters. Pay close attention to vents and AC units. Also, secure any loose exterior items like patio furniture, wind chimes and bird baths that could batter your home in a storm. Eliminating yard debris and anchoring down loose objects may help to protect against hurricane damage.
4. Yard and plant maintenance
Remove any trees or plants within 20 feet of your home to reduce damage if they topple during a storm. Also take care of basic lawn maintenance like filling in low areas prone to flooding, and removing overgrown branches. A well-maintained yard may help cut down on hurricane hazards.
5. Have a working generator
It’s not uncommon to lose power due to hurricanes, so it can also be useful to have a working generator on hand to help power your refrigerator and other appliances. Generators should be in an open space away from your home, ideally in a garage or shed.
6. If you have an above-ground swimming pool, drain and store it
Hurricanes can cause heavy rains and flooding, and these could easily flood your pool and cause the water to overflow. Plus, an above-ground pool can become a hazard to your home when there are hurricane winds and flooding.
7. Prepare an emergency kit and evacuation strategy
As hurricane season approaches, ensure your emergency kit is stocked with supplies like water, non-perishable food, flashlights, batteries and a first aid kit. Gather important documents like birth certificates, passports and insurance info in a waterproof, accessible container. If you have pets, include supplies for them in your emergency kit, like food, medications, leashes and carriers to transport them if needed. Develop an evacuation plan with routes and destinations identified in case officials issue an order to evacuate. Planning ahead helps ensure you and your loved ones, including pets, can make a quick exit and remain safe in a hurricane.
Frequently asked questions about hurricane insurance
The location of your home and the weather-related risks associated with the area can have a big impact on your homeowners insurance premiums. That’s because areas that are at high risk of natural disasters, like hurricanes, tropical storms and wildfires, typically result in major losses for insurance companies due to the higher risk of claims. As such, insurance companies try to mitigate the risk by charging higher home insurance rates to the homeowners who buy properties in those areas.
Hurricane season in Texas runs from June 1 through November 30. This corresponds with the Atlantic hurricane season time frame when tropical cyclone activity peaks in the Atlantic Ocean and Gulf of Mexico. Hurricane season is six-months long in Texas but typically peaks from August to October.