WESLACO, Texas (ValleyCentral) — After last year’s floods, the city of Weslaco is preparing its residents for hurricane season.

On Wednesday, area emergency management leaders spoke with the community about new drainage projects and how to prepare for possible floods.

Weslaco Fire Chief Antonio Lopez said every family should have a plan of action.

“How are you going to save your family in case of a hurricane? How are you going to prepare for food for four or five days?” said Lopez. “Emergency management starts at the home, emergency management starts where you stand.”

Hidalgo County Drainage District No. 1 has the highest population compared to others, according to Hidalgo County Emergency Manager Ricardo Saldaña.

Saldaña said new growth in the Rio Grande Valley contributes to more flooding in the area, pointing to last year’s floods.

“Areas I have never seen flood before were impacted, why? We’re building more homes, we’re building more highways, what are we doing? We are taking away the saturation of the water,” said Saldaña.

Saldaña also announced millions in new funding awarded to Hidalgo County for more drainage improvement projects.

“There’s a lot of projects going on with drainage throughout the county they just awarded another $3 million on another major project,” said Saldaña.

Since 2017, Chief Lopez said the city has learned more about flood risk and has begun more drainage improvement projects.

“So, we also got to see that in 2019 we had a major storm come in but because we had some of these [retention, drainage, and formation] RDFs completed it wasn’t as big of an impact,” said Lopez.

Texas Department of Emergency Management Section Chief, John Ovalle, spoke on TDEM’s latest feature that allows anyone to report disasters and damages associated online.

“This is called TDEM iSTAT, it’s the individual state of Texas assessment tool,” said Ovalle. “Tell us what’s happening in your home, some of the damages you sustain in your home, so we can let the mayor know, we can let the county judge know, we can let the governor’s office know, so we can tell FEMA & the president this is how bad it was.”

CLICK HERE to learn more about iSTAT.