Harris County keeps close eye on Isaac

HOUSTON - Even though Tropical Storm Isaac is not expected to hit southeast Texas, Harris County emergency managers are keeping a close eye on the storm.

Monday afternoon, the Harris County Office of Emergency Management ramped up emergency readiness from Level 4 to Level 3, which is standard procedure when a storm moves into the Gulf.

"We're at increased readiness so in case the storm does start tracking west we can respond. Right now the primary threat is the la coast but obviously this far out we got a storm in the gulf and watching it very closely," said Francisco Sanchez, with the Harris County OEM.

The last major storm to strike the upper Texas coast was Hurricane Ike in 2008. Ike crippled Galveston and knocked out power to millions of southeast Texas residents. Some outages lasted for weeks.

Last week, CenterPoint energy began receiving requests for trucks and linemen from Florida. But the company is waiting to see where this storm goes before sending any trucks too far from Houston. 

"We're not going to send anybody anywhere to help out until it does hit landfall. We're going to stay here and take care of business. You never know, there's a lot of unpredictability with hurricanes even as it heads out," said David Baker with CenterPoint Energy.

So far, the state Emergency Management Division has opened just one office in Beaumont, but has also halted road construction along interstate 10 just to ensure the major escape route away from the storm remains open.

Copyright 2012 by Click2Houston.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.