2018 Extreme Weather Expo draws thousands hoping to prepare for hurricane season

By Rose-Ann Aragon - Reporter

The City of Houston led the 2018 Extreme Weather Expo at the George R. Brown Convention Center Saturday. The goal was to get information out to the public on ways they can prepare for an extreme weather event. 

After Hurricane Harvey, many people are putting weather preparedness at the top of their list of priorities. One way or another, almost everyone in Greater Houston was impacted by Harvey. 

PHOTOS: 2018 Extreme Weather Ready Expo

The expo had 50 booths set up at the GRB Center, including emergency management agencies from Harris County, Montgomery County, and Galveston County. Representatives from the City of Houston Office of Emergency Management, FEMA, the National Weather Service, and Centerpoint Energy were among other emergency management and weather professionals who were having conversations about what residents can do to prepare for hurricane season. 

"Preparedness for a storm starts at home, and if individuals and families don't do the right thing, then they're not going to be ready and it makes the whole community less safe," said Harris County Judge Ed Emmett.

This year, many attendees said they were influenced to go for the first time because of Harvey.

"Our house got flooded as well, so it's very important to know what to do in events like this," said Katy resident Monica Carmona.

"I think it affected us a lot. It brought us together, for one -- but having the losses, the damage to property, the loss of life -- it really does put things into perspective," said Charles Webster Jr. from West Houston.

Webster is one of more than 4,000 people who attended the expo.

"It all starts with preparing a kit, knowing if you're in an area where you might have to evacuate, so you have to make those preparations," Emmett said. "If you're unable to get yourself out of harm's way -- you can dial 211 and get on a registry. That's important to know."

FEMA representatives encouraged everyone in the Houston area to get flood insurance.

Webster said he has learned some lessons.

"Having extra generators, more flashlights," he said.

"(Know) the size of the storm and how much time we have to make a decision," said northwest Houston resident Stephen Hensley.

"Know where that flood level is, what is the elevation of your house and know how to evacuate ahead of time," said Montgomery County resident Steve Steinke.

Officials hope that the information will make for a smoother and safer hurricane season.

"Hopefully, you're prepared enough to not lose what's important, which is life," Carmona said.

For more information, click link here for Harris County, and click link here for Houston area.

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