City officials prepare for possibility of tropical system in Houston

HOUSTON – The city of Houston is already preparing for a possible tropical system that might be headed our way.

Officials said they want people in the area to be thinking ahead.

When is the storm going to be here?

Even though the potential storm would be several days away, spokespeople for the city's Office of Emergency Management said it's never too soon to start stocking up on essentials or asking important questions.

READ: What you need to know about system that could develop in Gulf

"Knowing how to communicate in a disaster (is key)," said Cory Stottlemyer, with the OEM. "How are you going to have those communication means? Do you have extra chargers for your phone? Do you have batteries for a radio?"

What you need

That's where someone like Michael Taylor, the floor manager at Bering's Hardware, can come in handy.

"First thing you want to do is start with batteries," Taylor said. "You always want to have a back-stock of batteries."

He said a generator, gas cans to fill to keep the generator running and sources of light are also keys to riding out a storm. Not just flashlights; lanterns are also crucial.

"There's a big distinction between flashlights and lanterns," Taylor said. "A flashlight is going to give you a beam of light. A lantern is going to give you 360 degrees of light. So, if I need to sit down and eat dinner or read a book or something, I want a lantern."

Better to be prepared

The overall message: It's better to have and not need than need and not have.

In the meantime, emergency management officials are ready to sound the warning if it comes.

"We're in constant communication with the National Weather Service," Stottlemyer said. "We're working with our other departments internally, seeing, 'Hey, if this does develop in the Gulf, how are we going to respond and how are we going to respond quickly?'"

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