(Houston, Texas) – The Harris County Office of Homeland Security & Emergency Management (HCOHSEM) hosted a county-wide exercise at NRG Center on Tuesday, July 25, to test and train on Point of Distribution (POD) operations.

This full-scale exercise focused on the recovery phase following the landfall of a category 4 hurricane. The exercise helped assess coordination and communication between local partners, operational areas and the Harris County Emergency Operations Center.

“The exercise was developed for staff and partners to learn about the POD plan in place following a disaster,” said Harris County Judge Ed Emmett. “Drills and exercises help work out any kinks, so that during an actual event operations run more smoothly.”

PODs are established post-incident for distributing life-sustaining commodities. The need for a POD is based on lack of infrastructure to support normal distribution of food, water, ice and other supplies.

After a disaster, HCOHSEM in coordination with local cities determine the need for a POD, the location, and the commodities to be distributed there. When recovery has reached a point where the local community can sustain itself, the POD closes.

“This POD exercise provides an excellent opportunity for participants to become familiar with their roles and responsibilities,” added Emmett. “Lessons learned from the exercise will help improve our plans to better serve the residents of Harris County.”

Training and exercises are integral parts of community readiness and preparedness. Last year, HCOHSEM hosted 69 training opportunities and participated in more than 25 partner exercises throughout the region.


Volunteers practice distributing food and water during POD exercise at NRG Center.

Regarding the Texas Gulf Coast, we are working with local emergency managers and partners to prepare for the storm:

  • Four shelters are on standby — in Vidor, Orange, Bolivar Peninsula and Galveston Island; (addresses are not available at this time)
  • Nine emergency response vehicles are activated and ready for use if there is a need to supply residents with food, water, hygiene kits or other much-needed items;
  • Red Cross team members are preparing to deploy to hard-hit areas if warranted; and
  • Members of our Leadership Team are prepared to deploy as well.

Right now we are carefully monitoring the situation and will keep you updated in terms of Red Cross preparation. Please do open the press release link above, which will give you information on hurricane safety, our free emergency app and more. If of use, here are links to some photos taken during last years’ storms and floods. They were taken primarily in areas surrounding Beaumont and Orange. You are welcome to download and use if you wish. Feel free to access the entire site and peruse March/April/May 2016 photo albums for more storm photos.

By Keith Randall, Texas A&M University Marketing and Communications

COLLEGE STATION, June 21, 2017 – It doesn’t take a hurricane to cause problems from a storm, and many residents along the Gulf Coast may be about to find that out the hard way.  Tropical Storm Cindy, formed just a few days ago, is expected to make landfall Thursday and it could bring a strong punch despite its non-hurricane status, says a Texas A&M University expert.

Robert Korty, associate professor in the Department of Atmospheric Sciences at Texas A&M and a severe storms expert, says Cindy could still have a major impact, despite maximum winds of only 45 to 50 miles per hour.

“The biggest threat from this tropical storm is likely to be heavy rain.  It isn’t moving fast, and it has a large area of thunderstorms on its eastern side, so rain totals could reach as high as 10 inches in localized pockets,” explains Korty.

“I don’t expect much heavy weather to the west of where its center passes, so if the current forecast holds I think we are unlikely to see much in this area other than the possibility of some rain.  Louisiana and states farther east should get some good rain totals from this.”

Cindy may be remembered best for when she formed.

It is not every year that tropical storms develop in June, and this is very early in the season for the third named storm to have formed.

Even rarer is when two tropical storms form at the same time.  Tropical Storm Bret formed about the same time as Cindy and it is now making its way through the Caribbean.  That marks only the third time in the last 100 years that two Atlantic storms existed at the same time in the month of June – in 1909, 1959 and 1968 according to weather records.

With Texas experiencing another mild winter and warm spring, water temperatures in the Gulf could be a concern.

“Water temperatures across most of the tropical Atlantic are running a little warmer than average, which may help this season be more active than average,” says Korty.

“However, they are actually running slightly cooler than usual in the northern Gulf.  We do not expect Cindy to become a hurricane.  The storm will continue to face strong wind shear between now and the time it reaches the Texas and Louisiana coast.

The last hurricane to hit Texas was Ike, which killed 74 people in the state, caused $30 billion in damage and ruined the lives of thousands and it was only a Category 2 storm when it hit on Sept. 13 of 2008.

What is the danger?

Tropical Storm Cindy in the Gulf of Mexico is stationary, but is expected to move toward the Texas coast in the next few days. The National Hurricane Center and other forecasters anticipate landfall on the Texas coast as early as Wednesday evening.

This storm is expected to bring 3-6 inches of rain on the east side of the storm track, but less on the west side. Flooding and rain will be the primary concerns though high winds are possible.

Coastal residents should expect slightly higher tides and be prepared for possible street flooding.


What you need to do:

While the primary threat will be flooding, residents are strongly advised to prepare your family and property for potential storm impacts.

Play close attention to local media, the National Hurricane Center and the National Weather Service. Numerous watches and warnings will be issued in the coming days.

Street flooding or deep water ponding may occur during this event. Stay out of the water. The vast majority of severe weather deaths are due to flooding. Driving, walking, or swimming in flooded streets, bayous, and streams can lead to certain death. Stay aware: Turn Around, Don’t Drown!

Where you can learn more:

·         Forecasts: National Weather Service Houston-Galveston

·         Flood Safety: National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

·         Local Road Conditions:Houston Transtar

·         State Road Conditions:


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By: Vince Ryan

Harris County Attorney

Hurricane season has just begun. We’ve all heard about being prepared with bottled water, batteries and other necessities for riding out a storm. But is your legal paperwork safe and secure?

If your home floods, will your important documents be safe? If you have to evacuate, could you quickly put your hands on medical records? If you file insurance claims, would you be able to provide your policy and records of your possessions?

Be prepared this hurricane season by ensuring that all your legal documents avoid destruction or damage. A little work now can make a big difference later.

First, originals of your most important documents should be kept in a waterproof safe at your home or in a safe deposit box. Keep copies electronically on your computer hard drive or on CDs, DVDs or jump drives. You can also store documents on the cloud where they are retrievable anywhere and anytime. You could also email them to yourself or to a friend out of the storm zone. In many cases, courts will consider electronic copies valid if originals are lost. AARP recommends that you have one copy of your documents in a portable file system or lock box you can quickly grab if you have to evacuate in a hurry.

Now, what legal documents do you need to protect and have copies of in case of in an emergency? First, personal documents such as birth and marriage certificates, social security cards, passports or naturalization certificates. You also need to safeguard your will, living will, power of attorney and any instructions you have left in case of death.

Also protect property records, including deeds and title to property and mortgage and closing statements. You want to keep safe any appraisals of valuables along with photos and videos of your property for insurance purposes. And, of course, your insurance policies—home, auto and health.

Financial records are critical: bank statements, savings or investment account information, stocks and bonds and tax records.

And don’t forget medical information, including prescription information and phone numbers for your doctors.

In addition to these documents, if you have to leave your home for a natural disaster, please take with you a copy of phone numbers of relatives and friends. You may not be able to rely on your cell phone if towers are damaged or your battery runs down.

This may sound like a lot of work, but if a hurricane destroys or severely damages your home, you’ll be glad you have these documents available to you to start to put your life back together.

Harris County Attorney Vince Ryan

NOAA Predicting an Above-Normal Atlantic Hurricane Season this Year 

Houston, TX, May 31, 2017 — Hurricane season starts tomorrow, June 1, and forecasters are predicting a 45 percent chance of an above-normal Atlantic hurricane season this year, threatening both coastal and inland residents between now and the end of November. To help families stay safe, the American Red Cross is issuing the top six hurricane preparedness tips should a hurricane or tropical storm head for your community.

Here are the top six things you should do now to be ready for Hurricane Season 2017:

  1. Talk with household members and create an evacuation plan. Be prepared to evacuate quickly and evacuate if told to do so.
  2. Build an emergency kit with a gallon of water per person, per day, non-perishable food, a flashlight, battery-powered radio, first aid kit, medications, supplies for an infant if applicable, a multi-purpose tool, personal hygiene items, copies of important papers, cell phone chargers, extra cash, blankets, maps of the area, and emergency contact information.
  3. Get access to National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) radio broadcasts. Purchase a battery-powered or hand-crank NOAA weather radio in theRed Cross Store.
  4. Protect windows with permanent storm shutters or invest in one-half inch marine plywood that is pre-cut to fit your doors and windows. Identify a place to store lawn furniture, toys, gardening tools and trash cans (away from stairs and exits) to prevent them from being moved by high winds and possibly hurting someone.
  5. Be informed. Learn about your community’s hurricane response plan. Plan routes to local shelters, register family members with special medical needs as required and make plans for pets. If travel is in your plans, learn about how emergency situations are communicated at your destination.
  6. Download the free Red Cross Emergency App for expert guidance on what to do before, during and after hurricanes as well as 34 other types of emergencies. All Red Cross apps can be found in smartphone app stores by searching for American Red Cross or by going to org/apps.

If someone already has a disaster kit, now is the time make sure the food and water is still okay to consume and that copies of important documents are up to date. If an emergency plan already exists for the household, family members should talk about it again so everyone knows what to do and where to go if an emergency occurs.

Visit here for full information about what to do before, during and after a hurricane

CORPORATIONS HELP The generous donations from members of the Red Cross Annual Disaster Giving Program (ADGP) and the Disaster Responder Program enable the American Red Cross to prepare communities for disasters big and small, respond whenever and wherever disasters occur and help families during the recovery process.

ADGP $1 Million members are: American Airlines; Anheuser-Busch Foundation; Anthem Foundation; Bank of America; Caterpillar Foundation; Costco Wholesale; Delta Air Lines; Disney; Enterprise Rent-A-Car Foundation; FedEx; General Motors Foundation; Grainger; The Home Depot Foundation; LDS Charities; Lowe’s Companies, Inc.; Mazda North American Operations; Microsoft; Nationwide Foundation; State Farm; Target; UPS; VSP Global; Walmart and the Walmart Foundation; and The Wawa Foundation. 

ADGP $500,000 members are: 3M; Altria Group; American Express; Aon; Boise Paper; Capital One; Cisco Foundation; Citi Foundation; Darden Restaurants, Inc. Foundation; Discover; Edison International; Farmers Insurance; Ford Motor Company; Humble Bundle; John Deere Foundation; Johnson Controls; McDonald’s Corporation; Medtronic Foundation; Meijer; Merck Foundation; Mondelēz International Foundation; PepsiCo Foundation; Procter & Gamble Company; Reynolds American Foundation; Ryder; Southwest Airlines; Sunoco; TD Ameritrade; The TJX Companies, Inc.; United Airlines; and Wells Fargo.

Disaster Responder Program members are: Adobe; Alcoa; Astellas USA Foundation; AT&T; AvalonBay Communities, Inc.; AXA; The Ball Foundation; BNY Mellon; CarMax; The Clorox Company; Cox Automotive; DTE Energy Foundation; Duke Energy; Entergy Corporation; Harbor Freight Tools; Hewlett Packard Enterprise Foundation; Hi-Rez Studios; HP Foundation; IBM Corporation; IHG Foundation; Ingersoll Rand Foundation; Land O’Lakes, Inc.; Mastercard; Morgan Stanley; Neiman Marcus Group; New Balance Foundation; Northrop Grumman Corporation; Northwestern Mutual and the Northwestern Mutual Foundation; Prudential Foundation; PuroClean Disaster Recovery; SC Johnson; SERVPRO; Southeastern Grocers Home of BI-LO Harveys Winn Dixie; T O Y O T A; U-Haul International; United Technologies Corporation; The USAA Foundation; U.S. Bank; and Visa.

Pictured Left to Right: Jasmine Gordon, Planning Coordinator; Lach Mullen, Regional Public Information and Crisis Systems; Fort Bend County Judge Bob Hebert; Alan Spears, Deputy Emergency Management Coordinator; Caroline Egan, Disaster Recovery Manager

On May 5, 2017, Fort Bend County Judge Bob Hebert proclaimed the week of May 7- May 13, 2017 as Hurricane Preparedness Week.

Hurricane season officially begins June 1st and continues through November 30th. As we enter the 2017 hurricane season, it is critical that everyone in our area becomes more knowledgeable about hurricanes and hurricane preparedness. During this week citizens are encouraged to begin to prepare a family emergency plan.

For more information about hurricanes and being prepared, please visit Fort Bend County’s Office of Emergency Management website at Be sure to ‘like’ FBCOEM on Facebook and follow Fort Bend County Office of Emergency Management on Twitter to receive tips about Fort Bend County alert systems, evacuation information, resource kits, and other information on how to be prepared.

Fort Bend County is located in the Texas Southeast, immediately South and West of Harris County and the city of Houston. It is the home of over 700,000 people and is one of the fastest growing counties in the United States. For more information about Fort Bend County, visit the county homepage at

Harris County Urges Residents to Prepare in Advance of Hurricane Season

Harris County Commissioners Court has designated May 7-13, 2017 as Hurricane Preparedness Week and urges residents to prepare in advance of the upcoming hurricane season. Throughout the week, the Harris County Office of Homeland Security & Emergency Management (HCOHSEM) will be promoting preparedness and offering safety tips.

“Now is the time to make sure you have an emergency plan in place for you, your family, your pets and your business,” said Harris County Judge Ed Emmett. “We have been spared from major storms for several years now, but it is only a matter of time before another storm threatens our area.”

HCOHSEM works with local, state and federal emergency management partners to prepare our communities for disasters of all types, but it is up to each person/family to know their risks and plan for their individual needs. Some safety precautions include:

  • Discuss and practice an emergency plan with your family
  • Sign up to receive weather and emergency alerts
  • Assemble an emergency supplies kit that includes a NOAA weather radio
  • Have an emergency bag ready to go with important documents in case you need to evacuate
  • Keep trees and branches trimmed near your home
  • Secure loose objects before severe weather moves in

HCOHSEM’s ReadyHarris app sends emergency alerts, provides a step-by-step guide for building a personalized family disaster plan, offers survival tip sheets, maps evacuation routes and locates local emergency services. Download this free app from the App Store or Google Play.

“Every minute counts when severe weather, or any emergency, threatens our community,” said Harris County Judge Ed Emmett. “The ReadyHarris app empowers residents to make a personal plan and receive life-saving information at their fingertips.”

The Atlantic hurricane season runs from June 1 to November 30, but it got an early start with the formation of the short-lived Tropical Storm Arlene in April. This rare tropical storm is a reminder that potential severe weather events are not governed by the calendar. Harris County residents are faced with natural and man-made threats daily, so preparedness is important every day of the year.

Go to to sign up for emergency alerts and follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

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Harris County Commissioners Court declared April 2-8, 2017 as Flood Safety Awareness Week. The Harris County Office of Homeland Security & Emergency Management (HCOHSEM) and the National Weather Service (NWS) urge residents to learn about flood dangers and how to stay safe during flood emergencies.

“We work year-round to educate the public about flood hazards,” said Harris County Judge Ed Emmett. “This is especially important, given the historic flooding our region has experienced the past two years.”

According to the NWS, the spring and summer months bring a greater potential for thunderstorms that can trigger flooding. In 2016, the Harris County Emergency Operations Center was activated 10 times, eight of those for severe weather.

Conditions that cause floods include heavy or steady rain for several hours or days that saturate the ground. However, flash floods occur suddenly due to rapidly rising water along streams or low-lying areas.

“Drivers often underestimate the power of floodwaters,” said NWS Meteorologist Jeffry Evans. “More than half of all flood-related drownings occur when a vehicle is driven into flooded roadways.”

According to the Texas Department of Public Safety, nearly eight out of 10 vehicle-related flood fatalities occur in the dark – between 6 p.m. and 6 a.m.  Driving in the dark may limit visibility and make it hard to judge how deep the water really is. Only six inches of water can cause tires to lose traction and begin to slide, and 12 inches of water can float many vehicles. So day or night, when there is high water on the road, Turn Around, Don’t Drown.

HCOHSEM reminds residents to stay informed during severe weather. It is important to know the difference between a flood watch and a flood warning:

  • Flood/Flash Flood Watch—Flooding or flash flooding is possible in your area.
  • Flood/Flash Flood Warning—Flooding or flash flooding is already occurring or will occur soon in your area.

Follow us on Facebook and Twitter for daily safety tips during Flood Safety Awareness Week. Download the ReadyHarris app for real-time weather alerts and a step-by-step guide to building a personalized family disaster plan.

For more NWS flood safety tips and resources go Local forecast information available at

What is the danger?

There is a potential for severe weather in Harris County late morning into the early evening hours on Wednesday. According to the National Weather Service (NWS), there’s a slight risk for torrential rain, damaging winds, hail, and isolated tornadoes. These storms may affect the afternoon commute in some areas.

What you should do:

Residents are encouraged to monitor local media for weather information before heading out. For real-time traffic information go to In the event of street flooding, remember “Turn Around, Don’t Drown.” Driving through high water or around barricades on flooded roadways or underpasses can lead to death!

Basic Flood Safety Tips

  • Turn Around, Don’t Drown! ® DO NOT DRIVE through high water and DO NOT DRIVE AROUND BARRICADES! Just 2 feet of water can sweep your vehicle away.
  • DO NOT WALK through flood waters. Just 6 inches of moving water can knock you down.
  • If your home floods, STAY THERE. You are safer at home than trying to navigate flooded streets on foot.
  • If floodwaters rise around your car but the water is NOT MOVING, abandon the car and move to higher ground. Do not leave the car and enter MOVING water.
  • STAY AWAY from streams, rivers, and creeks during heavy rainfall. These areas can flood quickly and with little warning.
  • MOVE important items – especially important documents like insurance policies – to the highest possible floor. This will help protect them from flood damage.
  • DISCONNECT electrical appliances and do not touch electrical equipment if you are wet or standing in water. You could be electrocuted.


Where you can learn more:

Forecasts: National Weather Service

Local Traffic: Houston TranStar

Preparedness & Emergency Information: