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Emergency Management Terms
  • Department of State Health Services (DSHS), Radiation Unit: a state agency that provides Matagorda County with technical assistance during a radiological incident.
  • DPS, Pierce: the Department of Public Safety Office at Pierce, Texas. It serves as the 24-hour warning point for this part of Texas. The DPS staff can obtain resources to assist Matagorda County during emergencies.
  • Emergency Planning Zone (EPZ): an area within the 10-mile radius of a nuclear power plant.
  • Department of Homeland Security-Federal Emergency Management Agency (DHS-FEMA): the federal government agency responsible for assisting with off-site emergency planning, preparedness, response, and recovery.
  • Host School: a location where evacuated school children are housed until picked up by a parent or guardian. A host school is outside any hazardous area.
  • Hurricane Warning: This warning indicates that a hurricane, with sustained winds of at least 74 mph, is to be expected in 24 hours or less. At this point, hurricane preparedness plans must be finalized. Hurricane warnings are seldom issued more than 24 hours in advance, and in cases of hurricanes with unusual or erratic paths, the warning may be issued only a few hours before landfall.
  • Hurricane Watch: An announcement issued by the National Hurricane Center when a hurricane becomes a threat to coastal areas. A "Hurricane Watch" is not a "Warning." It indicates that a hurricane is near enough that everybody in the area covered by the "Watch" should listen for subsequent advisories and be ready to take precautionary measures in case hurricane warnings are issued. Watches usually are issued 24 to 36 hours in advance of landfall.
  • Hurricane Severity Levels (Saffir/Simpson Category Scale):
    • Category 1:
      • Wind Speed:74-95 mph (64-82 kt)
      • Barometric Pressure:28.94
      • Storm Surge:4-5 ft
      • Expected Damage:No real damage to building structures. Damage primarily to unanchored mobile homes, shrubbery, and trees. Also, some coastal flooding and minor pier damage.
    • Category 2:
      • Wind Speed:96-110 mph (83-95 kt)
      • Barometric Pressure:28.5-28.93
      • Storm Surge:6-8 ft
      • Expected Damage:Some roofing material, door, and window damage. Considerable damage to vegetation, mobile homes, etc. Flooding damages piers and small craft in unprotected moorings may break their moorings.
    • Category 3:
      • Wind Speed:111-130 mph (96-113 kt)
      • Barometric Pressure:27.97-28.49
      • Storm Surge:9-12 ft
      • Expected Damage:Some structural damage to small residences and utility buildings, with a minor amount of curtainwall failures. Mobile homes are destroyed. Flooding near the coast destroys smaller structures with larger structures damaged by floating debris. Terrain may be flooded well inland.
    • Category 4:
      • Wind Speed:131-155 mph (114-135 kt)
      • Barometric Pressure:27.17-27.9
      • Storm Surge:13-18 ft
      • Expected Damage:More extensive curtainwall failures with some complete roof structure failure on small residences. Major erosion of beach areas. Terrain may be flooded well inland.
    • Category 5:
      • Wind Speed:155 mph+ (135+ kt)
      • Barometric Pressure: <27.17
      • Storm Surge:18 ft +
      • Expected Damage:Complete roof failure on many residences and industrial buildings. Some complete building failures with small utility buildings blown over or away. Flooding causes major damage to lower floors of all structures near the shoreline. Massive evacuation of residential areas may be required.
  • Matagorda County Emergency Management Office: the county agency responsible for emergency management planning. This office coordinates with the state Division of Emergency Management to respond to any emergency.
  • Nuclear Energy Institute (NEI): an industry organization that promotes safe utilization and development of nuclear energy to meet the nation's energy, environmental and economic goals, and to support the nuclear energy industry.
  • Nuclear Regulatory Commistion (NRC): a federal government agency responsible for licensing, regulating and inspecting nuclear power plants to make certain they operate safely.
  • Plume: a cloud of potentially hazardous material that mizes with the air and moves with the wind.
  • Protective Respones Zones: geographic areas where residents may be asked to take shelter, evacuate, or wait for further emergency information. Eleven(11) protective response zones have been established for the 10-mile radius around the STP nuclear plant.
  • Reception Centers: the locations designated for residents who have been asked to leave their homes due to a nuclear power plant event. The centers are outside the 10-mile radius of the plant. Radiation monitoring and decontamination, as well as registration, first aid, shelter and medical help are provided, if necessary, at these locations.
  • Storm Surge:A departure from a normal elevation of the sea due to the piling up of water against a coast by strong winds such as those accompanying a hurricane or other intense storm. Reduced atmospheric pressure often contributes to the departure in height during hurricanes. It is potentially catastrophic, especially in deltaic regions with onshore winds at the time of high water level and extreme wind wave heights.
  • Tropical Depression: A complete low pressure circulation with winds up to 38 mph (Depressions are not named, but if a tropical storm weakens to a depression, it keeps its original name).
  • Tropical Disturbance: Tropical cyclone that maintains its identity for at least 24 hours and is marked by moving thunderstorms and with slight or no rotary circulation at the water surface. Winds are not strong. It is a common phenomenon in the tropics and is the first discernable stage in the development of a hurricane.
  • Tropical Storm: Well organized counterclockwise circulation of clouds and winds 39-73 mph. The storm is assigned a name.

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