HOUSTON – In southeast Texas, it’s always important to hope for the best but prepare for the worst when it comes to predictions of heavy rain in the area.
What’s happening right now
Prepping now: Emergency crews and departments across Harris County and surrounding areas are getting ready for the potential of flash flooding as tropical moisture moves through the area.
Flooding coming: “We're expecting flash flooding to be in this weather event, so we're telling residents to be prepared in case you need to amend your travel throughout the next days,” said Cory Stottlemyer with the Houston Office of Emergency Management.
Mayor with a warning
All departments ready: Stottlemyer said earlier this week, Mayor Sylvester Turner directed all public safety staff to prepare for the possible weather event. "We are currently monitoring the weather situation with the weather service,” he said. “Talking with our partners at the county, Harris County Flood Control District, public works, fire, police, they've all staged assets for high water rescue vehicles, rescue assets and barricades to respond if needed.”
Harris County Pct. 4 Constable’s Office spent the day getting ready.
Lt. Vicinte Medina said their new Emergency Center, located at 20122 Holzworth, will help them get to areas quicker if need be.
“We just moved in about a month ago or so, and actually this building is centrally located to our precinct , so it just makes it easier,” explained Medina. “Whether we need to deploy our boats to the east side of 45 or to the west side of 45, it just makes it a lot easier for where we need to go.”
He said they too got their equipment ready in case there is flash flooding in the area.
“We have our boats ready to go, we have also our high water rescue vehicles ready to go and we have the staff on standby so if the water does hit and they’re needed we’re able to deploy,” said Medina.
Travel could be rough: “With the flash flooding and the possibility of those localized street flooding, right now, if you can, park your car in the driveway, get it out of the road, clear it out of the roadway,” Stottlemyer said. "Our public works teams are promoting the event through this whole weather event. Keep the streets clear. We don't want anything blocking the draining systems so they can do what they are designed to do."
Sign up for alerts: Stottlemyer said people should sign up for alerthouston.org, which can give geo-targets to people in Houston when the storm moves through the area.
How much water?
Could be widespread: Jeff Lindner with the Harris County Flood Control District said there could be widespread rain of two to four inches across the area, with higher amounts in isolated parts.
It should be manageable: “For the most part, we’ll be able to handle that. The creeks and bayous should be able to handle that. The good news is, we’re going into this dry so the ground is able to absorb some of the water. However, what we’re going to have to watch for is how much rain falls in a short period of time,” Lindner explained.
Three to four inches: He said if Mother Nature decides to drop three to four inches an hour, that could cause some street flooding concerns. The main question, he said, is if the area will get breaks in between those bands of rain to allow the water levels to drop.
Be on guard: “It’s just going to be something we’re going to have to watch. Certainly, tomorrow, be on guard for your street flooding – watch out for any ponding in those areas (where) we typically have street flooding. And just really pay attention to the weather of the day and pay attention to the traffic,” Lindner said.
Check conditions Wednesday morning
Check traffic, weather: Lindner suggests the first thing people do when they wake up Wednesday morning is to check the traffic and weather. Make sure it’s safe to travel and if there are areas with high water spots, to take an alternate route.
Bayous are normal right now: “The good news is the bayous are normal right now. With the dry ground, some of the rain is going to go into saturating the ground. We will see rises in the bayous.
"People will see water in the bayous. Again, they’re meant to fill up when we get heavy rainfall. But right now, we’re not expecting widespread bayou and creek flooding. We’re not expecting widespread structure flooding,” Lindner said.