Hazard Risk Index

The City of Austin Hazard Mitigation Plan identified and assessed the potential impact of natural and man-made hazards that threaten the City of Austin. Hazards were identified based upon a review of historical records, national data sources, existing plans and reports, and discussions with local, regional, and national experts. For additional resources or to request a preparedness presentation, visit the Materials and Disaster Ready Austin sections of this website.

The hazards were then prioritized based on potential damages in terms of lives lost, dollar losses, and other community factors. In order of priority, they are:
 

Flooding

Flooding is the most serious hazard for the Austin area and is a threat across the entire city year-round. A common myth is that flooding only occurs in creek or river floodplains. Many do not realize that flooding can occur anywhere in Austin. In the Greater Austin Area, 75 percent of flood fatalities are automobile related! Never drive around a barricade.

For current flood information and emergency road closures in the City of Austin and Travis County, visit http://www.atxfloods.com

For more information, visit http://www.ready.gov/floods.

Wildfire

Every year across our nation, some homes survive - while many others do not - after a major wildfire. Those that survive almost always do so because their owners had prepared for the eventuality of fire, which is an inescapable force of nature in fire-prone wildland areas. Said in another way - if it's predictable, it's preventable!

For more information about wildfire preparedness in our community, visit https://www.codeforamerica.org/apps/prepared-ly/ or http://www.wildlandfirersg.org/.

For other pertinent information, visit: http://www.ready.gov/wildfires.

Hail

See ‘Thunderstorm and Lightning’ For more information, visit http://www.ready.gov/thunderstorms-lightning.

Pandemic

A pandemic is the worldwide spread of a new disease.  It’s important to note that the term pandemic refers to the geographic spread of a disease and not necessarily the severity of the disease.  An influenza pandemic occurs when a new influenza virus emerges and spreads around the world, and most people do not have immunity.  Viruses that have caused past influenza pandemics typically originated from animal influenza viruses. Influenza activity usually lasts from October to May in the United States.

For more information, visit http://www.ready.gov/pandemic.

Tornado

Spawned from powerful thunderstorms, tornadoes can cause fatalities and devastate a neighborhood in seconds. A tornado appears as a rotating, funnel-shaped cloud that extends from a thunderstorm to the ground with whirling winds that can reach 300 miles per hour. Damage paths can be in excess of one mile wide and 50 miles long. Every state is at some risk from this hazard.

For more information, visit http://www.ready.gov/tornadoes.

Hazardous Material

Chemicals are found everywhere. They purify drinking water, increase crop production, and simplify household chores. But chemicals also can be hazardous to humans or the environment if used or released improperly. Hazards can occur during production, storage, transportation, use, or disposal. You and your community are at risk if a chemical is used unsafely or released in harmful amounts into the environment where you live, work, or play.

For information about personal preparation and storage of safe water, visit http://www.cdc.gov/healthywater/emergency/safe_water/personal.html#make_safe.

For more information, visit http://www.ready.gov/hazardous-materials-incidents.

Pipeline

Pipelines traverse the watersheds that supplies water to the City, including those that supply water to well-dependent residents and environmentally-sensitive areas such as Barton Springs and the Edwards Aquifer. A leak or spill from these pipelines could threaten neighborhoods, contaminate water supplies, or pollute environmentally-sensitive land. A pipeline accident could have a major impact by causing injuries that result in death or permanent disability or completely shutting down critical facilities.

For information about personal preparation and storage of safe water, visit http://www.cdc.gov/healthywater/emergency/safe_water/personal.html#make_safe.

For more information, visit http://www.ready.gov/hazardous-materials-incidents.

Hurricane

A hurricane is a type of tropical cyclone or severe tropical storm that forms in the southern Atlantic Ocean, Caribbean Sea, Gulf of Mexico, and in the eastern Pacific Ocean. A typical cyclone is accompanied by thunderstorms, and in the Northern Hemisphere, a counterclockwise circulation of winds near the earth’s surface.

For hurricane shelter information, visit http://www.redcross.org/find-help/shelter.

For more information, visit http://www.ready.gov/hurricanes.

Winter Storm

While the danger from winter weather varies across the country, nearly all Americans, regardless of where they live, are likely to face some type of severe winter weather at some point in their lives. Winter storms can range from a moderate snow over a few hours to a blizzard with blinding, wind-driven snow that lasts for several days. Many winter storms are accompanied by dangerously low temperatures and sometimes by strong winds, icing, sleet and freezing rain.

To check road conditions during winter storm events, visit http://www.drivetexas.org.

For more information, visit http://www.ready.gov/winter-weather.

Terrorism

Terrorism is the use of force or violence against persons or property for the purpose of intimidation, coercion, or ransom. Terrorists often use violence and threats to create fear among the public, to try to convince people that their government is powerless to prevent acts of terrorism, and to get immediate publicity for their causes. The goals of terrorism are usually political, social, or religious in nature.

Drought

Drought is an extended period of time without substantial rainfall. Droughts can affect a large area, from several counties to several states. Drought can adversely impact a community’s water resources. Drought’s impact on wildlife and farming also can be enormous. Droughts can kill crops, grazing land, plants, and, in severe cases, trees. Dead or dry vegetation increases the threat and severity of wildfires.

For drought updates in Austin, visit http://www.austintexas.gov/department/drought-update.

For more information, visit http://www.ready.gov/drought.

Thunderstorm and Lightning

All thunderstorms are dangerous. Every thunderstorm produces lightning. While lightning fatalities have decreased over the past 30 years, lightning continues to be one of the top three storm-related killers in the United States. Falling raindrops evaporate, but lightning can still reach the ground and can start wildfires.

For more information, visit http://www.ready.gov/thunderstorms-lightning.

Extreme Heat

Heat kills by pushing the human body beyond its limits. In extreme heat and high humidity, evaporation is slowed and the body must work extra hard to maintain a normal temperature. Most heat disorders occur because the victim has been overexposed to heat or has over-exercised for his or her age and physical condition. Older adults, young children, and those who are sick or overweight are more likely to succumb to extreme heat.

For more information, visit http://www.ready.gov/heat.

Dam Failure

The severity of impact from a dam failure could be substantial, with the potential to cause loss of life, property damage, and other ensuing hazards, as well as the displacement of persons residing or working in the affected area. Damage to critical infrastructure such as electrical facilities, (i.e. substations, transmission lines) and natural gas lines also could occur in areas outside the immediate hazard area.

For more information, visit http://www.ready.gov/natural-disasters.