Severe weather can happen at any given time, but its impact to affected areas is a shoo-in. Sometimes meteorologists make accurate predictions while otherwise, a slight adjustment in the weather system completely transforms the outcome.
In Denton County, Texas, a two-part storm is going to cost businesses and local governments more than $300 million, the Insurance Council of Texas reported.
The early April storm occurred during a time when Denton County officials were in the midst of improving their continuity of operations plan with the installation of Code Red, a multifaceted weather alerts system. Texas already has sirens to inform residents to seek shelter before inclement weather occurs, the Denton Record-Chronicle explained.
"A siren gives you a sound, but what does it mean? What's going on?" Denton County emergency management director Jody Gonzalez told the Record-Chronicle. "[It's] important to get a message that tells you what is going on and what precautionary measures to take."
This type of weather is not surprising in northern Texas, but the "Denton Storm" was extremely active. The first round of the storm occurred around 4:30 p.m. and another system rolled in about a hour and a half later. Denton County residents reported seeing three tornadoes. Two reached 85 mph winds, while the third, stronger funnel reached up to 110 mph gusts, injuring five people, according to reports from the Dallas Morning News.
"Multiple hailstorms — that is part of the key," Gonzalez says of the storm's impact.
While a majority of damage was found in Denton, more than 12,000 homes and 24,000 vehicles will need repairs. Structures like the University of North Texas and Texas Women's University were affected by the storm's impact.
Denton County's swift reaction to the 21st most-expensive storm in Texas history shows that planning for these events in advance can be beneficial to the community. Cities and towns that don't have emergency management plans in place may want to consider reaching out to business continuity consultants.