Preparing for Hurricane Harvey: Agencies advise public to sign up for alerts, check road status and flight schedules

Hurricane Harvey is expected to make landfall tonight near Corpus Christi.

Hurricane Harvey is expected to make landfall tonight near Corpus Christi.

With Hurricane Harvey projected to hit the Texas coastline tonight, public officials and emergency responders warn residents of the greater Austin area to prepare for heavy rains, flooding and delays on the road and in the air.

Alert systems, a new hyper-local alert system launched by the Capital Area Council of Governments, or CAPCOG, earlier this week, is intended to prepare Central Texans of impending emergencies, such as those related to Hurricane Harvey.

By registering multiple address, residents can stay abreast of public safety information where they live, work or visit, CAPCOG said. While most public entities communicate in English, critical alerts in Spanish will be sent as often as possible, CAPCOG said.

Following sign-up, emergency responders also encourages residents to develop their own plans in case of an emergency.

"After you sign up, take action to prepare for emergencies by developing a family emergency plan and basic emergency supply kit," said Juan Ortiz, director of the city of Austin Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Management, in a statement.

In addition, the Public Alerts function has also been improved by Google to better prepare residents of areas affected by hurricanes. An estimate of Hurricane Harvey's arrival at a particular location, its projected impact, related news stories and social media posts, and safety tips are accessible by plugging in a location on the map's search bar.

Preparing for road, air travel

As mandatory and suggested evacuations are implemented across coastal Texas, residents of Central Texas should prepare for an influx of vehicles on major highways, such as I-35 and I-10.

Highway conditions and evacuation information will be made available to the public through the Texas Department of Transportation's various Twitter feeds and on Facebook. The department encourages residents of affected areas to follow these accounts for up-to-the-minute transportation alerts and local traffic information.

The Austin-Bergstrom International Airport is also advising air travelers to check their flight status for any delays or cancellations.

Additional air travel tips include checking the flight status of all connecting flights and allowing ample time to drive to the airport. Travelers are advised to arrive at the airport at least two hours prior to a flight during peak departure times of 5-8 a.m., 11 a.m.-1 p.m. and 3:30-5:30 p.m., according to airport officials.

Certain airlines have already updated their websites with Hurricane Harvey-related information, including:
By Olivia Lueckemeyer
Olivia Lueckemeyer graduated in 2013 from Loyola University New Orleans with a degree in journalism. She joined Community Impact Newspaper in October 2016 as reporter for the Southwest Austin edition before her promotion to editor in March 2017. In July 2018 she returned home to the Dallas area and became editor of the Richardson edition.