Last Edited: Wednesday, 30 May 2007, 1:43 PM CDT
The Atlantic Hurricane season is around the corner. It starts on June 1st through November 30th. In order to ensure an orderly evacuation of the Galveston-Houston area in the event a major hurricane approach, authorities in Galveston, Brazoria and Harris counties included the City of Houston have established a "zip code evacuation plan" for the upcoming 2007 Hurricane Season.
The four zip code zones begin along the coast and the generally correspond to hurricane storm surge risk areas. They extend toward the greater Houston area, and continue with the coastal zone evacuating first. The zones in the interior will evacuate consecutively by zip codes until all the residents along the coast have been evacuated.
This zip code plan is established to ease traffic congestion like the one experienced when hurricane Rita hit the Texas coast. The intent of this plan is also assist residents of low-lying portions of Galveston, Brazoria and Harris counties to leave before those outside the risk areas enter the evacuation routes.
Galveston County Judge Jim Yarbrough says, "It can be a challenge to drive through Houston on any day of the week, but is especially challenging when a hurricane is threatening, and we are pleased that our neighboring counties recognize that coastal residents and visitors are most at risk and need a head start on Houston's highway system."
Those zip code zones have been labeled Zip Zone Coastal, Zip Zone A, Zip Zone B and Zip Zone C.
Zip Zone Coastal encompasses zip codes in areas and portions closest to the coast where residents are the most threatened. Residents in those geographic areas will evacuate first when a hurricane approaches.
In Zip Zone A are all those areas of mainland Galveston County, Brazoria County and all areas in Southern Harris County.
Eastern and southern Harris County, northwestern Galveston county and central Brazoria County is included in Zip Zone B.
According to the new plan, eastern Harris County, portions of Houston, and most of northern Brazoria County are included in the geographical
Zip Zone C, arranged accordingly with the zip codes for that area. This would be the last region to evacuate.
John Simsen, emergency management coordinator for Galveston County said this would make evacuations simple and easy because most people know their zip codes by heart. I would be also an easy way for people understand evacuation messages.
Simsen also said that "equally important is the need for citizens who live outside the zip zone evacuation areas to listen carefully to their elected officials when a storm approaches." In other words: "if you do not live in a storm surge area, and you live in a well-constructed home, please shelter in place."
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