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December 07, 2018 11:54:02 AM CST

HARRIS COUNTY RESIDENTS URGED TO REVIEW EMERGENCY PREPAREDNESS PLANS, MONITOR WEATHER

With a flash flood watch in effect for Southeast Texas and the potential for widespread heavy rainfall expected throughout Harris County Friday night into Saturday morning, residents are urged to review emergency preparedness plans and continue monitoring weather conditions through the weekend. Residents are also strongly encouraged to remain indoors at home, and if traveling, pay close attention to road conditions on travel routes.

A surface cold front is slowly making progress into Southeast Texas this morning and may make it down toward the US 59 corridor by this evening resulting in widespread thunderstorms and heavy rainfall. The rainfall is expected from mid-to-late afternoon into the overnight hours.

The Harris County Flood Control District Operations team continues to monitor the weather conditions, and took the following steps in advance of the storm:

  • Removed large construction equipment from bayous and channels.
  • Opened the Clear Creek Second Outlet Gates in Kemah.
  • For all construction sites, removed temporary low water crossings and stockpiled materials from within the channel.
  • Continued performing debris removal service requests.
  • Fueled Flood Control District fleet and work vehicles so that crews can respond appropriately as needed.
  • Implemented the HCFCD Flood Operations plan to include critical staffing through the duration of the event.
  • Continued preparations with Harris County Office of Emergency Management, the National Weather Service, San Jacinto River Authority, the City of Houston, and other partners.

The Flood Control District Flood Operations team has moved into standby mode ready to mobilize crews as events develop. The Flood Control District’s phone bank will activate at 6 p.m. this evening. Residents are urged to call with questions regarding flooding at 713-684-4000. When flooding is imminent the following are steps YOU CAN TAKE TO PREPARE: 

  • Make sure storm drains and culverts are clear from debris. Clogged drains and culverts can prevent water from traveling to the bayous and tributaries, causing street flooding, and possible house flooding, depending on the amount of rain we receive.
  • Debris should NOT be discarded in areas bayous, streams and ditches. Debris should be put in trash bins and then brought inside into garages or backyards, away from drainage ditches and storm sewers.
  • Winds can cause trees and branches to fall; trim or remove damaged trees and limbs to keep you and your property safe.
  • In areas that normally experience flooding, move vehicles to driveways or in parking garages as the storm approaches.
  • Secure patio furniture and any loose items that may be picked up by heavy winds.
  • Take video of all your belongings and important documents in case they become damaged and needed for insurance claims.
  • Never drive into high water. Turn Around, Don’t Drown! Less than two feet of water can float and wash away a vehicle. Be especially cautious at underpasses and at night when water across roadways can be difficult to see.
  • Confirm your family emergency kit is complete and ready.
  • Contact your family members and confirm plan of action and alternatives.
  • Move emergency supplies and valuables to a high, dry place in your residence.
  • Locate and put pets in a safe place.
  • Your safest option is to stay put. However, if you must evacuate to a safe location or a shelter, take your emergency supply kit and tell your family check-in contact you’re leaving. Don’t drive through flooded streets.
  • The Harris County Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Management has disaster preparedness resources and the latest information about conditions in Harris County at readyharris.org. 
  • This flooding event is a reminder that all residents in this area should carry flood insurance. Contact your insurance agent for more information about purchasing flood insurance, or visit the National Flood Insurance Program at fema.gov/national-flood-insurance-program or call 1-888-379-9531. Please keep in mind that new insurance policies take 30 days to go into effect. 

Residents can monitor rainfall and bayou water levels on the Harris County Flood Warning System website at www.harriscountyfws.org. A new feature on the website allows users to view real-time flood inundation from creeks, bayous, and rivers that may exceed their banks. It is important for Harris County residents to be aware of conditions near their workplaces, schools and homes. Stay tuned to messages from emergency officials-- distributed through the various media outlets. Be sure to also follow us on Twitter @HCFCD for live updates.

ABOUT THE HARRIS COUNTY FLOOD CONTROL DISTRICT

The Harris County Flood Control District (HCFCD) provides flood damage reduction projects that work, with appropriate regard for community and natural values. With more than 1,500 bayous and creeks totaling approximately 2,500 miles in length, the Flood Control District accomplishes its mission by devising flood damage reduction plans, implementing the plans and maintaining the infrastructure. To learn more about the Flood Control District, visit www.hcfcd.org.