City of Houston Activates Emergency Operations Center in Advance of Storm Threat

Update: (2:30pm) The City of Houston will return the Emergency Operations Center to Routine Readiness at 3:00pm.  The City of Houston did not receive any significant reports of damage or impacts associated with today’s storms, and the National Weather Service has canceled the Tornado Watch for the area.  The Office of Emergency Management will continue monitoring the weather and will work with response agencies in the event they need any information or assistance related to the weather.

HOUSTON – The City of Houston will activate the Emergency Operations Center, located at the Houston Emergency Center at 6:00am this morning in advance of the anticipated arrival of severe weather conditions. Initially staffed by representatives from the Houston Police Department, Houston Fire Department, Public Works & Engineering Department, and Office of Emergency Management, the City’s EOC is the primary coordination point for emergency response in Houston.

The National Weather Service (NWS) says the Houston area will likely see heavy rain, damaging winds, hail and the possibility of tornadoes throughout Sunday.  The area is expected to receive 1-3 inches of rain, with some areas receiving in excess of 3 inches throughout the day.  Depending on how storms line up over the region, some areas may see higher totals.

What the City is Doing

  • The Public Works & Engineering Department has pre-staged barricades throughout the City in areas prone to flooding, so they can be quickly deployed by emergency personnel if needed.
  • The Houston Fire Department has conducted preliminary checks of evacuation and high-water rescue boats and equipment to ensure it is available and ready in the event water rescues are needed.
  • The Houston Police Department has conducted readiness checks on their high water vehicles and staging them throughout the City so they can quickly be deployed if necessary.
  • The Office of Emergency Management has activated the Emergency Operations Center and is monitoring weather with NWS and the Harris County Flood Control District (HCFCD).

What Houston Residents Can Do

Houston residents should prepare for the possibility of severe weather.  This includes:

  • Preparing for the possibility of power outages.  Have a charged flashlight readily available and extra batteries.
  • Removing articles from decks, patios and backyards that can be tossed in the wind.
  • If possible, moving vehicles into garages or under cover to protect against large hail.
  • Help keep storm drains clear and flowing, by ensuring streets and storm grates are clear from debris.
  • Identifying a safe, interior room on the lowest floor possible to seek shelter in the event a Tornado Warning is issued.
  • Evaluating plans for Sunday afternoon, to ensure they aren’t caught off guard away from their home if severe weather materializes.
  • Avoiding travel during periods of severe weather, and never driving into areas of high water. Remember, “Turn Around, Don’t Drown.”
  • Signing up for AlertHouston, the City’s emergency notification system at houstonemergency.org.
  • Ensuring they have a way to stay informed of changing conditions.  This includes having a battery-powered or hand-crank radio and extra batteries.

Reporting Damage or Flooding

Houston residents can report storm impacts to the City by calling 3-1-1 (713.837.0311), online at houston311.org, or through the Houston 311 mobile app for smartphones.
This includes:

  • Street or Building Flooding
  • Debris or Trees in a City street
  • or Displaced manhole covers

The City of Houston maintains a website with the latest information on power outages, school closures, city service interruptions and weather at houstonemergency.org. Additional updates will be provided through the OEM social media outlets on Twitter, FacebookInstagram, and Nextdoor.