HOUSTON – As the Houston region braces for another round of severe weather, the City of Houston’s Office of Emergency Management is working with city and regional response agencies to prepare. OEM, which operates the City’s Emergency Operations Center at the Houston Emergency Center in north Houston, is responsible for coordinating the City’s disaster response.
“We’ve been monitoring this potential for a few days,” said Rick Flanagan, Emergency Management Coordinator, “We’ve put our departments on alert, and are ready to meet the needs of residents if severe weather materializes.”
The National Weather Service (NWS) and Harris County Flood Control District (HCFCD) say that the Houston area can expect to see heavy rain, as well as strong winds, large hail and the possibility of tornadoes beginning early Sunday morning through the evening. Because of recent rains, any rain that falls will likely run-off into area streams, creeks and bayous, leading to rapid rises.
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 is conducting 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 is currently conducting 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 placed personnel on standby for activation of the Emergency Operations Center and is monitoring weather with NWS and HCFCD.
What 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.
- Be sure to contact appropriate companies to deal with damage to your property once the storm is past — e.g. cap city restoration for any roof damage.
- 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.
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, Facebook, Instagram, and Nextdoor.
Public Information Officer