Severe weather threat prompts cancellations while officials urge preparation

By Daniela Sternitzky-Di Napoli - Digital News Producer

HOUSTON - Officials are issuing warnings ahead of Friday’s severe weather in order to keep everyone as safe as possible.

The Houston area is expecting to see anywhere from 2 to 6 inches of rain, which could cause some street flooding.

The National Weather Service issued a flash flood watch from noon Friday until noon Saturday.

While the rain is expected to start Friday evening, the worst of the weather is expected to move through the area late Friday night and into Saturday morning.

Local events like the Houston Zoo Lights have decided to cancel plans Friday due to the inclement weather. Anyone who pre-purchased a ticket will be allowed to use it on another night.

Here's a list of cancellations of local school districts:

Aldine ISD: "Aldine ISD has canceled all after-school and extracurricular activities scheduled for Friday, Dec. 7 and Saturday, Dec. 8. We are canceling as a result in advance of the weather and would like to air on the side of caution."

Clear Creek ISD: "Due to the anticipated weather later this evening, Clear Creek ISD is cancelling all extracurricular activities after 5p.m. on Friday, December 7, 2018.  We can anticipate rain, thunder, lightning, high winds and some flooding this evening and overnight. The school district will continue to monitor the weather and determine if future cancellations are necessary for the weekend."

Crosby ISD: All HS activities cancelled for tonight. Our final play performance is planned for Monday evening. The basketball games are cancelled with no plans for make-ups as both are non-district competitions. Please be safe moving around after dark this evening!

Dickinson ISD: "Because of the severe weather that is forecast, all DISD after school co-curricular & extra-curricular activities scheduled for today, Fri., Dec. 7, and tomorrow morning, Saturday, Dec. 8, are canceled. The Region band auditions scheduled for Saturday will have a delayed start."

Fort Bend ISD: "Due to anticipated severe weather, all after-school events and activities scheduled for today (12/7) have been canceled. Fort Bend ISD is planning to dismiss campuses according to regular schedules today, and Extended Learning programs will continued to be offered."

Houston ISD: "Due to impending inclement weather and the potential for hazardous road conditions, the Houston Independent School District will cancel after-school activities. Additionally, all varsity basketball games scheduled for tonight are being rescheduled for Saturday, December 8. Any Saturday activities will not begin until after 9 a.m."

Katy ISD: "Please be advised that all Katy ISD after-school activities are canceled beginning at 5:00 p.m. today, Friday, December 7 due to impending hazardous weather conditions in our region. At this time, student-related and other activities that are scheduled to take place tomorrow, Saturday, December 8 will resume as planned, as it is being reported that the weather event will have passed through our area by 5:30 a.m.  If there is a change to any group’s schedule, those students and families will be directly notified."

Klein ISD: "Klein ISD, in conjunction with other area school districts, has determined that for the safety of our students and staff, all after-school activities are canceled for tonight, December 7 and will not resume until after 11 a.m. Saturday morning, pending that roads are passable and bus transportation is available."

Pearland ISD: "Because the safety of our students is our number one priority and out of an abundance of caution, all Pearland ISD after-school extracurricular and athletic activities scheduled for Friday, Dec. 7 have been canceled in light of inclement weather forecasts for our area. At this time, Saturday activities will remain as scheduled. Please check the district website and social media channels for any changes or updates."

Santa Fe ISD: "Santa Fe ISD is continuing to monitor current weather conditions. Due to inclement weather predictions for this evening, all extra-curricular and school related events have been cancelled or rescheduled for today, Friday, December 7, 2018. Coaches and sponsors will notify their students with any changes or rescheduling regarding weekend events." 

Spring ISD: Because of heavy rain and flooding in the forecast, all Spring ISD afterschool activities and practices are being canceled today, Friday, Dec. 7 and Saturday, Dec. 8.

Be prepared and weather aware

Officials are focusing on areas along Cypress Creek, Little Cypress Creek and Cedar Bayou, and other areas in the northern part of Harris County, which are expected to be the hardest-hit due to a front in the area.

Though authorities are warning residents to prepare for heavy flooding, Houston’s Director of Hydrologic Operations Division and Meteorologist Jeff Lindner wants to emphasize that this will not be a Harvey repeat.

“If we had to compare it to one, I’m going to look at the Halloween 2015 event, where we did have some flooding in the county” Lindner said. “This is definitely not a Harvey, probably not a tax day or Memorial Day ’15, something lesser than that.”

VIDEO: Jeff Lindner, officials talk about what to expect

The Houston Fire Department has a new high water rescue vehicle on standby in the Greenspoint area and is ready to use it to help people who may get stranded in the severe weather.

The vehicle is a refurbished 1993 military vehicle and is the newest of nine high-water rescue vehicles.
It has an air intake that is 8 feet tall and it has no problem moving through multiple feet of water.

"This allows us to get into deeper areas,” said HFD Sr. Captain Joshua Vogel. “In this area is Greenspoint mall, so multiple complexes, malls, office buildings have flooded in the past. Every single flood that Houston's had, this has been one of the largest impacted areas. So this station just acquired this vehicle just a week ago. As you all know, we're expecting moderate to severe flooding tonight."

Should the front move, the metro area could be facing the most severe part of the weather system, which could cause issues for the bayous.

The San Jacinto River Authority (SJRA) has established a 24-hour work schedule and is ready to help those who find themselves in trouble. 

“We have fueled generators in place and continue to monitor the weather,” the SJRA said. “We’ve exercised all of our equipment and intend to activate our reservoir ops center and will remain active throughout the duration of this event.”

The City's Department of Public Works is advising residents to clean out their gutters. They have facilitated lowering Lake Houston by 2 feet as a precaution and have barricades up and ready to be placed.

Mayor Turner urges Houston area to be prepared for threat of severe weather

VIDEO: Lake Houston Reservoir was drained ahead of Friday night storms

Preparing for threat of severe storms

Storm preps along Cypress Creek

Copyright 2018 by KPRC Click2Houston - All rights reserved.