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Public Safety

Harris County Homeland Security & Emergency Management
News Release
Thursday, April 20, 2017

Tropical Storm Arlene Forms in the Atlantic, Not a Threat to Land



What is the danger?

Tropical Storm Arlene has formed in the Atlantic Ocean. Arlene will pose no danger to Texas or the Gulf of Mexico. It is the first storm of the 2017 Hurricane Season. It is also the third straight year a system has formed in the Atlantic before June 1st.

It is extremely rare to see tropical weather systems form prior to June 1, the official start of hurricane season. The last tropical storm that formed in April was Anna in 2003. Because severe weather, not just tropical storms, can happen at any time it is important to be prepared. 

This coming weekend is the 2017 Emergency Preparation Supplies Tax Holiday. This year’s holiday begins at 12:01 a.m. on Saturday, April 22, and ends at midnight on Monday, April 24.


The following emergency preparation supplies qualify for tax exemption:

  • Portable generators less than $3,000
  • Emergency ladders less than $300
  • Hurricane shutters less than $300
  • Batteries, single or multipack (AAA cell, AA cell, C cell, D cell, 6 volt or 9 volt)

·         Can openers - nonelectric

·         Carbon monoxide detectors

·         Coolers and ice chests for food storage – nonelectric

·         Fire extinguishers

·         First aid kits

·         Fuel containers

·         Ground anchor systems and tie-down kits

  • Ice products - reusable and artificial

·         Light sources - portable self-powered (including battery operated)

·         Mobile telephone batteries and mobile telephone chargers

·         Radios - portable self-powered (including battery operated) - includes two-way and weather band radios

·         Smoke detectors

·         Tarps and other plastic sheeting


The following supplies do not qualify for tax exemption:

  • Batteries for automobiles, boats and other motorized vehicles
  • Camping stoves
  • Camping supplies
  • Chainsaws
  • Plywood
  • Extension ladders
  • Stepladders
  • Tents
  • Repair or replacement parts for emergency preparation supplies
  • Services performed on, or related to, emergency preparation supplies


What you need to know:

This rare April tropical storm is a reminder that potential severe weather events are not governed by the calendar. Harris County residents are faced with natural and man-made threats daily. Preparedness is important every day of the year. Download the ReadyHarris app, from the Apple Store or Google Play, and use our step-by-step guide to building a personalized family disaster plan. Go to to sign up for emergency alerts and follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

Remembering Jim Guidry

Guidry News Service is headquartered in Midtown Houston.
at 4001 Fannin Street, Suite 4109, Houston, TX. 77004-4077
(409) 763 NEWS(6397)
© 1996, Guidry News Service. Duplication of any part of this website in any manner is prohibited.