Texas isn’t even through the COVID-19 crisis, but it may be time to start preparing for another one: hurricane season officially starts today, and it already looks busy.

In May, two tropical storms formed over the Atlantic, hitting the Carolinas with strong winds and then flooding rains. It was the first time since 2016 that two named tropical storms formed before the recognized start of hurricane season.

Such extreme weather events, driven by climate change, are likely to become more and more common as Texas approaches its bicentennial in 26 years. In March, Texas A&M researchers — led by state climatologist Dr. John Nielsen-Gammon) and Texas 2036 released a report showing that extreme weather is likely to double the 100-degree days in the state (compared to the 2000-2018 average), and extreme rainfall events will likely be 30-50 percent common than they were about a half-century ago.

More damaging hurricanes, coupled with rising sea levels, are also a top concern: on some parts of the Texas coast, the storm surge risk may double by 2050.

The report spotlights the importance of planning and preparation, both to help Texans weather extreme storms and to boost Texas’ resilience after they pass. As the Houston Chronicle notes, the U.S. weathered 14 billion-dollar weather and climate disasters last year — and Texas was in the path of half of them.

Such resilience will never be more important than it is this year, as Texas continues recovering from the coronavirus pandemic and energy market volatility that has so damaged workers and employers in the oil and gas sector.

While there’s a lot on Texans’ plate, the data shows that this isn’t something people can ignore. Yes, this is a challenging time. But more challenges are coming. It’s incumbent on the state to be ready for them.

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