Texas spans more than 268,000 square miles across 10 climate zones. Almost every weather condition is experienced here. Summer-like conditions often last from mid-April through October. Relentless heat and blistering sunshine cause drought-like conditions, while unstable air masses cause severe thunderstorms, tornadoes, and hurricanes. Advanced warning is the key to saving lives. Keep a weather alert radio to listen to weather advisories and be ready to act.
1 Tornadoes and high winds
Texas has about 132 tornadoes every year. Tornadoes are extremely dangerous and cause massive damage.
- Secure outdoor objects that could become projectiles.
- Find shelter in a permanent building immediately. Avoid mobile offices and trailers.
- Move to an interior room on the lowest level of the building. Bathrooms and closets are often the safest and strongest rooms.
- Never stop under bridges or overpasses. These offer no protection from high winds or flying debris.
2 Severe thunderstorms and lightning
Thunderstorms bring strong winds, dangerous lightning, and flash flooding.
- Seek shelter in a strong, sturdy building.
- Stay inside and away from windows.
- Never attempt to drive on a road that is covered with water. Turn around and find another route.
- Lightning can travel long distances through metal. Stay away from metal objects, equipment, wiring, and surfaces that can conduct electricity.
Hail can result in damaged roofs, broken windows, and dented vehicles.
- Pull your vehicle(s) into a garage if hail is in the forecast.
- Stay inside and away from windows.
- Find shelter in a parking garage where you can wait out the storm if you are out.
- Never stop under bridges or overpasses to protect yourself from hail. Bridges give no protection from the strong winds that come with hail, and you may cause a car accident.
Hurricanes threaten the Texas Gulf Coast every year from mid-summer through fall. These dangerous storms include heavy rains, powerful winds, tornadoes, and deadly storm surge. As the storms move inland, they often bring flooding rain and strong wind to other areas of the state.
- Shutter or board up windows and doors in advance.
- Ensure you have all supplies recommended by the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s hurricane preparedness checklist and emergency kit.
- Turn off and secure all utilities and electronics, including water heaters, gas tanks, heaters, computers, and other office equipment.
- Know where all the evacuation routes are. Evacuate when ordered to do so by government officials.
- Stay away from low-lying and flood-prone areas.
- Shelter in a strong, secure building away from windows. Stay indoors until the hurricane passes.
5 Drought and wildfires
Drought threatens all regions of the state. When a hot summer with little rain follows a dry winter, streams can dry up, crops can die, and wildfires can happen.
- Keep landscaping and decking at least 5 feet away from your business to create a barrier from wildfires.
- Ensure fire hydrants are located no more than 250 feet from your business. If you are in an area without fire hydrants, consider installing a cistern or a water storage tank.
- Renovate with fire-resistant building materials.
- Keep portable fire equipment such as a dry-chemical or water fire extinguisher available and ready for service for spot brush fires.
- Work with your community to create a local wildfire protection plan.
Texas weather is constantly changing. Learning and appreciating the different weather types can help you better understand how to protect you and your employees from severe summer weather.
For more information on summer storm safety, download any of the Natural Disaster Preparedness and Recovery publications from DWC.