As in many areas across the country, the coastal regions of Texas face a high risk of hurricanes each year. When these storms hit, they can cause major damage to homes, which in turn can cause major financial losses for homeowners and insurers alike. Of the $310 billion in weather catastrophes that occurred between 1980 and 2021, hurricanes caused the most damage nationwide, with total damage exceeding $1.1 trillion and an average damage per event of $20.5 billion .
Of course, not all of these weather disasters happened along the Texas coast. On average, hurricanes make landfall somewhere along Texas’ 50-mile stretch of coast about every six years. But it can still be helpful for residents of the Lone Star State to know when the 2022 hurricane season is so they can prepare for what may be to come. If you’ve been wondering when Texas hurricane season will begin this year or how to reduce the risk of hurricane damage to your home, here’s what you need to know.
When is hurricane season in Texas?
As in the rest of the United States, the official hurricane season in Texas runs from June 1st to November 30th. However, August through October are generally considered the peak months of hurricane season, and most storm activity has historically occurred during these months. According to NOAA, about 78% of tropical storm days, 87% of minor hurricane days, and 96% of major hurricane days fall in these months. Mid-September is generally more active in terms of tropical storms.
While hurricanes hit the Texas coast about every six years on average, 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 over a four-year period.
The Texas Hurricane History
Texas has a long history of hurricanes, with the earliest known hurricane making landfall in the state in 1875. This hurricane was not considered a significant storm and caused little damage. The next time a hurricane made landfall in Texas was in 1893, when the Galveston hurricane devastated the city. This storm would go down as the worst natural disaster in US history, claiming between 8,000 and 12,000 lives.
Since 1900, Texas has been more directly affected by hurricanes than any other state except Florida. In the past 20 years, Texas has experienced the most direct impacts from hurricanes, with Hurricane Harvey in 2015 being the deadliest and costliest. 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
Wind and flood damage are the most common causes of hurricanes, both of which can result in extensive damage and expensive repairs to your home. When a hurricane makes landfall, average sustained wind speeds range from 100 to 150 miles per hour, and winds from stronger storms can exceed 200 miles per hour. If you find yourself in the path of the hurricane, chances are your home will be damaged by wind. Structural damage, such as damage to your roof or sidewalls, is common.
Hurricanes can also cause severe flooding due to storm surges or heavy rainfall. This, in turn, can lead to serious damage, both indoors and outdoors, or the total loss of your home.
Because of the extensive damage that flooding can cause, flooding events, such as those caused by hurricanes, have an average cost of about $4.7 billion per event, according to NOAA. In general, severe storms have an average cost of $2.3 billion per event and are the most common type of disaster.
How to prepare your home for hurricane season
The most important part of preparing your home for hurricane season is having a hurricane preparedness checklist. Even if you’ve never experienced a hurricane, it’s still a good idea to prepare your home in advance because you never know which way the storms will go.
1. Check your insurance policy.
It’s important that you take the time to review your home insurance ahead of hurricane season. This way you will understand what your policy does and does not cover before you have to make a claim. Many policies contain exclusions and it is not uncommon for supplements or separate policies to be required for certain types of coverage. It’s a good idea to call your agent or insurance company to review your policy ahead of hurricane season. This way you’ll know if you need additional coverage and have time to request quotes to get the coverage you need.
2. Check and maintain your roof ahead of hurricane season.
Roof damage is common during hurricanes, but you can take steps beforehand to try to minimize damage. Conduct a roof inspection before hurricane season to check for missing or damaged shingles and to ensure your roof is in good condition. If you haven’t already, it can help to check the pitch of your roof to make sure it’s steep enough to divert water away from your home.
3. Secure any loose items on the outside of your home.
Loose or hanging items on the outside of your home, such as Items such as patio furniture, wind chimes, and bird baths can cause damage to your home during a hurricane. If a hurricane threatens your area, it can help to secure any loose items you have on the outside of your home.
4. Remove trees and plants that are within 20 feet of your home.
Trees and plants are heavy and can do a lot of damage during hurricane season if they fall over during a storm. As such, you may benefit from removing any trees or plants that are less than 20 feet from your home. This can help reduce the damage plants and trees can do to your home during a hurricane.
5. Remove debris from your garden.
Garden debris can also damage your home when tossed around by high winds or flooding during a hurricane. Take the time to remove any debris from your yard and pay close attention to the area around your vents and air conditioners. Debris could easily be blown into these areas and cause damage.
6. Have a working generator.
It’s not uncommon for power to go out due to hurricanes, so it can also be useful to have a working generator on hand to power your fridge and other appliances. Generators should be in an open space away from your home, ideally in a garage or shed.
7. If you have an above ground pool, drain and store it.
Hurricanes can cause heavy rains and flooding that can easily flood and overflow your pool. Also, an above ground pool can become a hazard to your home during gale force winds and flooding.
8. Take care of basic lawn care.
Low areas in your lawn are more prone to flooding, so you may benefit from filling in and leveling any low areas in your yard ahead of hurricane season. It can also be helpful to remove overgrown branches and attend to other routine garden maintenance to reduce potential dangers to your home.
9. Have an emergency kit ready.
As you prepare for hurricane season, make sure you have emergency kit stocked and ready. You should also keep your important documents like your birth certificate, passports, bank statements and insurance information in a waterproof container that is easily accessible in case you need to leave your home.