The first major storm of hurricane season is barreling toward the Gulf Coast right now, threatening the Southeast with days of rain, storm force winds, and potential power outages. And while the Weather Channel is stressing out everyone with cable news, some Texans are making sure they have just as much water as wine. These photos of Hurricane Harvey prep show the reality of living on the coast in a near-constant state of concern.
UPDATE: On Friday, Hurricane Harvey intensified into a Category 4 storm as it neared landfall on the Texas coast. Millions of people are in danger, and the National Hurricane Center predicts that some areas could see 13 feet of storm surge.
There are many ways you can help. If you live in Texas, you can house Hurricane Harvey victims for free through AirBnb. You can help the homeless as well as stray animals in the area. If you live anywhere else, there are still plenty of ways to help from afar, including donating to organizations that will provide relief.
EARLIER: It can be difficult to convince coastal residents that every hurricane warning is a serious one. I spent the first 18 years of my life in Houston, and in all that time, we only had about four or five storms that did significant damage. The worst one was in 2001 (and it wasn't even officially a hurricane). Tropical Storm Allison still exemplifies for many Houstonians the futility of trying to outsmart the weather. Speaking from experience, there are simply too many times when the storm diverts course at the last minute or just peters out for everyone to get truly freaked about each hurricane.
Some people live hard and fast by the news and do all the recommended preparations: boarding up windows, buying gallons of water, and creating an emergency food supply. Other Texans have very different priorities during a hurricane, as you'll see here in these Hurricane Harvey prep pictures.