Harris County residents are urged to monitor the weather forecast and use extreme caution if venturing out into rainy conditions through Saturday. Widespread heavy rainfall is expected throughout Harris County Friday night into Saturday morning with average rainfall amounts of 3-5 inches and locally higher amounts possible upwards of 7-8 inches. A flash flood watch has also been issued until Saturday afternoon for all Southeast Texas counties.
Grounds are wet over the region due to recent rains in October and the general lack of evaporation this time of year. Given the expected widespread nature of the rainfall totals, significant rises on area rivers, creeks, and bayous may occur and some locations may reach or exceed their banks. Additionally, high rainfall rates may result in roadways and streets becoming impassable. Commuters are urged to avoid high water and flooded streets throughout the county and to proceed with caution when driving on area roadways – Turn Around Don’t Drown!
Residents need to monitor weather conditions closely Friday and Saturday and be prepared to take action should flooding threaten their location. The Harris County Flood Control District (Flood Control District) Flood Watch team will continue to monitor rainfall trends and check the gages that measure rainfall amounts and water levels in bayous and creeks. The team constantly monitors the data and works during severe weather events to advise the public and local officials of areas that are and could be affected by flooding. Residents may monitor rainfall and bayou water levels on the Harris County Regional Flood Warning System website (desktop and mobile versions) 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.
The Flood Control District Flood Watch team coordinates closely with the entities who manage area lakes and reservoirs, but specific questions pertaining to those structures should be directed to the appropriate contacts:
The Barker and Addicks reservoirs are owned, operated, and maintained by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE). USACE normal operating procedures for the reservoirs require all gates to be closed before and during a rainfall event. Gates are only opened when it is safe to discharge floodwaters down Buffalo Bayou. Emergency operation of the outlet gates may change this procedure. For questions or to learn more about the Barker and Addicks reservoirs visit www.swg.usace.army.mil.
Lake Houston is owned by the City of Houston and operated, maintained by the Coastal Water Authority. Lake Houston is a water supply reservoir and has no flood control function. For questions or to learn more about Lake Houston visit www.coastalwaterauthority.org.
Lake Conroe is managed by the San Jacinto River Authority (SJRA). Lake Conroe is a water supply reservoir and has no flood control function. SJRA’s normal operating procedures do not include pre-releasing water prior to a storm. The Flood Control District will be in frequent communication with SJRA operators throughout the rainfall event. For questions or to learn more about Lake Conroe visit www.sjra.net.
The Sheldon Reservoir is managed by the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD). The Sheldon Reservoir has no flood damage reduction function and does not have any gates operated for flood control purposes. For questions or to learn more about the Sheldon Reservoir visit www.tpwd.state.tx.us.
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 or follow us on Twitter @HCFCD for all the latest #HCFCDnews.