Harris County emergency officials prepare for Harvey

By Click2Houston.com Staff, Syan Rhodes - Anchor/Reporter

HOUSTON - Harris County emergency officials will be working long hours to make sure everyone is prepared for the approaching tropical system.

The Regional Joint Information Center will activate Wednesday at 2 p.m. The center will provide emergency information for the public as it relates to tropical system Harvey.

That includes the Harris County Office of Emergency Management.

The office is conducting regular conference calls with the National Hurricane Center and the National Weather Service to monitor the potential impact tropical system Harvey, which had been a tropical storm, could have on Harris County.

Even though it's unclear where Harvey will land, or whether it will be a hurricane or a tropical storm, one thing is certain: It will bring heavy rainfall, which could mean severe flooding similar to what we saw during the three big storms of the last two years.

Harris County urges everyone to prepare for the storm now.

RELATED: Track Harvey in our Hurricane Headquarters section

"This is just a reminder. As the peak of hurricane season starts, you can't be prepared early enough or well enough," Francisco Sanchez, with the Harris County Office of Emergency Management, said. "Make sure you know how to communicate with family members during a storm. Have a plan for what you need to do if you need to shelter in place for a couple of days, and this is a good time to brush up on those flood safety tips in case we need them this weekend."

For now, the office remains at a Level 4. That is normal readiness, but it could change quickly depending on the forecast.

"Right now the benefit that we've got is that it's been a few days since we've had any rain, so our bayous and roads will be able to handle any first round relatively easily," Sanchez said. "The problem is once the grounds are saturated, and we start getting persistent heavy rain fall over specific areas, any part of Harris County is going to have a problem dealing with that, so that's why it's a primary concern right now."

Flood-weary Meyerland residents are carefully watching the forecast to see what happens with the remnants of Harvey.

"I really couldn't bear the thought of going through this again," said homeowner Joyce Helfman.

Her home took on six inches of water during the 2015 Memorial Day flood.

While she's hopeful there won't be a repeat, she feels better prepared.

"We did take measures like putting down tile floors so we have done things so that the damage would not be the same," she said.

Check the forecast any time by visiting the weather page of Click2Houston.com or by downloading Frank's forecast app on Apple or Android devices.

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