How Harris County is preparing ahead of potential flood threat

By Keith Garvin - Anchor/Reporter, Daniela Sternitzky-Di Napoli - Digital News Editor, Cathy Hernandez - Reporter

HOUSTON - Once again, Southeast Texas is preparing for another major rainfall event that has the potential to produce major flooding across the region.

A flash flood watch was issued by the National Weather Service Tuesday. It is in effect from 1 p.m. through Wednesday afternoon and people across the area have already started preparing for the worst.

"We're going to get a plan to be prepared with food, water," said Nancy Martinez, of Houston.  "And probably any Plan B, because you never know."

Antonio Rios wants to make sure his family is secure during the storm.

"Prepare with food and enough supplies for my kids," Rios said.  "And food and water just to be safe and prepare for whenever the power goes out. (We are) just prepared all the time for the worst-case scenario."

Leaders at the state and city levels are sending out plans and suggestions to prepare because there is a potential for flooding, given the amount of expected rainfall.

On Monday, the City of Houston Public Works Department reminded people to clean storm drains and ditches -- as blocked passageways are the primary cause of flooded neighborhoods. They also are asking people to secure items that might float away.

Jeff Lindner, meteorologist with the Harris County Flood Control District, is warning people to pay close attention to the forecast and be ready for anything.

"This will behave very similar to a very weak disorganized tropical storm, so the main threat is going to be rainfall, potentially a lot of rainfall and some flooding," Lindner said. "The isolated totals you start getting up between 10 and 12 inches, that's when we should be concerned especially if that fell in a short period of time."

The City of Houston said it will start staging barricades in areas prone to flooding ahead of the storms.

"Watch out at the underpasses," Lindner said. "Watch out on those feeders roads where we typically see some high water."

Lake Houston already had been lowered for a rehabilitation project on the dam. Contractors are securing the work site for the expected rain.

Lindner said there is a risk of structure flooding, so if your home has flooded before, take some extra precautions like parking on higher ground or moving important items.

"Make sure you have stuff up off the ground," Lindner said. "Get it as high as you can in your house. Especially the important documents or important furniture or stuff like that, just in case we have potentially structure flooding as we go into Wednesday or Thursday."

Gov. Greg Abbott directed the state to prepare for the rain. In addition to elevating the State Operations Center to Level Three increased readiness, the state Division of Emergency Management will be assembling four Texas A&M Task Force 1 boat squads in coastal areas.

Abbott also people should:

•    Avoid flooded areas
•    Be cautious of water on roads
•    Don't drive through flooded roads
•    Obey barricades
•    Turn around, don't drown
•    Move to higher ground

Harris County Precinct 4 and the City of Houston also have their high-water vehicles ready to go in case they need to be deployed.

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