Weather

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 www.fbcoem.org. 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 http://www.fortbendcountytx.gov.

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 ReadyHarris.org 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 www.floodsafety.noaa.gov. Local forecast information available at www.weather.gov/hgx/.

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 www.houstontranstar.org. 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: www.readyharris.org

AUSTIN -Texas Land Commissioner George P. Bush is pleased to announce that the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) has approved the 2015 State of Texas Action Plan detailing eligible uses and allocation of available Community Development Block Grants for Disaster Recovery (CDBG-DR) funds to assist communities with long-term recovery from the floods and other disasters of 2015.

“Communities in Texas faced tremendous losses from flood disasters in 2015 and 2016,” said Commissioner Bush. “The counties impacted represent 76 percent of the Texas population, or 20.9 million people – a total population greater than that of 48 states. The GLO’s Community Development and Revitalization program plays a vital role restoring a sense of comfort and community spirit through recovery efforts. Our CDR team continues to work diligently with leaders in affected communities to prioritize projects and maximize the use of disaster recovery funding to the benefit of those affected by these disasters.”

Approval of the action plan allows the HUD-designated most impacted counties of Harris, Hays, Hidalgo and Travis to proceed with plans to distribute respective shares of $22.2 million in funding. With this approval, the state can also move forward with an amendment to the action plan detailing the scoring criteria for determining the distribution of the remaining $28.4 million of funds.  This amendment will be posted for public review in the next several days.

There are 116 Texas counties eligible for recovery funding as a result of receiving Presidential Disaster Declarations for 2015 events. The GLO’s Community Development and Revitalization (GLO-CDR) program will oversee the administration of $50.6 million in CDBG-DR funds provided by HUD for these recovery efforts. Cities, counties and housing authorities in the declared areas are eligible to apply. As with previous disaster recovery grants, GLO-CDR will determine the most efficient use of the funds in order to maximize the number of projects that can be completed by the affected communities in Texas.

The GLO estimates a combined loss of more than $2 billion in unmet long-term recovery needs. The CDBG-DR allocation made to the state of Texas for 2015 and 2016 floods totals $364.2 million.

Please visit http://www.texasrebuilds.org/Pages/Floods-2015.aspx to review the amendment to the 2015 State of Texas Action Plan. 

About GLO Community Development & Revitalization

The CDR program of the Texas General Land Office administers Community Development Block Grants for Disaster Recovery (CDBG-DR) on behalf of the state of Texas. Funds totaling more than $3.9 billion have been allocated for recovery following Hurricanes Rita, Dolly, and Ike, the 2011 wildfires and the 2015 and 2016 floods.

February 17, 2017

What is the danger?

There’s a potential for severe weather in Harris County starting as early as Sunday and continuing into next week. According to the National Weather Service <http://www.weather.gov/hgx/>  (NWS), widespread rainfall amounts of 2-3 inches are possible, with isolated areas receiving up to 6 inches. High hourly rainfall rates could lead to flash flooding.

What you should do:

Residents are encouraged to monitor local media for weather information, particularly before heading out on Monday morning. In the event of street flooding, remember “Turn Around, Don’t Drown <http://tadd.weather.gov/> .” 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 <http://www.weather.;gov/hgx>

Local Traffic: Houston TranStar <http://www.houstontranstar.com/>

Preparedness & Emergency Information: www.readyharris.org <http://www.readyharris.org/>

Twitter: @ReadyHarris <http://www.twitter.com/readyharris>      Facebook <https://www.facebook.com/ReadyHarris/>      Mobile App: http://readydl.com/ready-harris

Posted February 14, 2017 8:10:45 AM CST

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
PARA PUBLICACION INMEDIATA

A line of storms is moving through our area today, as has been widely publicized.

This storm could bring isolated rainfall of up to 5 inches, small hail, brief tornadoes, and damaging winds.

Precautionary/Preparedness Actions:

  • Remove all outdoor items which can be tossed by strong wind gusts and secure them.
  • Be prepared to stay in place if dangerous flooding occurs in your area.
  • Communicate with your family ahead of time about what to do if you cannot get home at a normal time due to the heavy rain.
  • Have a plan to shelter-in-place at your home, school or business.
  • If a TORNADO WARNING is issued for your area, seek shelter immediately in an interior room on the lowest floor possible.
  • If a FLASH FLOOD WARNING is issued for your area, seek higher ground and avoid travel until the warning expires.

You can report severe weather events to the National Weather Service here: http://www.srh.noaa.gov/StormReport/SubmitReport.php?site=hgx

Please also share any weather observations with us on Twitter using the any of the applicable hashtags on this page http://www.fbcoem.org/go/doc/1528/1291455/ when you mention @fbcoem.

COLLEGE STATION, Jan. 26, 2017 – Although there have been several outbreaks in recent weeks, the overall number of tornadoes in the United States in 2016 was below average and it was one of the quietest years since modern record keeping began in 1954.  The reason is likely that a strong El Niño occurred in the first half of the year, says a Texas A&M University severe storms expert, but conditions could soon revert back to normal.

Chris Nowotarski, assistant professor of atmospheric sciences at Texas A&M, says an El Niño (warm water in the Central Pacific which tends to influence weather patterns worldwide) has been associated with a decrease in tornadic activity over the area called Tornado Alley that stretches from the southwest to the Midwest and where tornadoes most frequently form.  This likely resulted in the 901 tornadoes in 2016, which is below the yearly average of 1,061.

While that is good news, the better news is that only 17 deaths in the U.S. occurred from tornadoes, the fewest in 30 years. In 1986, 15 tornado fatalities occurred nationwide, the lowest amount ever.

In regard to Texas, the state had 90 tornadoes reported in 2016, which was well below the average number of 140 in a typical year, says the Texas A&M professor.

“The El Niño is thought to generally weaken southerly winds off the Gulf of Mexico into the Southern and Central Plains area,” Nowotarski explains.  “That means less moisture and wind shear which are crucial for tornadoes to form.

“Another reason is that we did not have a large-scale tornado outbreak over a two or three-day period that we often have, and those often account for a significant portion of total tornadoes.”

While it is difficult to predict what will happen the rest of the year – for instance,  February of 2016 was the deadliest month, killing seven people, instead of April and May which are the months most often associated with tornado deaths – there are some clues to look for, Nowotarski adds.

“We’ve shifted to a weak La Niña this year (colder waters in the Central Pacific), which suggests more typical numbers of tornadoes could occur this year,” he says.

“In fact, we’ve already had more than 90 tornadoes this year, which is well above the average number of 39 by this time, so indications are the tornado season is off to a strong start.”

AUSTIN – The Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) is urging Texans to monitor weather forecasts and take necessary precautions as winter weather and cold temperatures sweep across the state. According to current weather forecasts, parts of North Texas, West Texas and the Texas Panhandle could experience wintery precipitation, including light to moderate snow accumulations, beginning late Thursday through Friday. Drivers are advised to monitor weather conditions before hitting the road, and if possible, avoid unnecessary travel in the impacted areas.

“It is important to remember that winter weather threats can emerge quickly, including low temperatures and freezing precipitation, which can endanger Texans if they’re not prepared,” said DPS Director Steven McCraw. “DPS is calling on individuals to monitor weather and take the necessary steps to stay safe and avoid hazardous conditions posed by any possible weather threats this week and throughout this winter season.”

This week and throughout the winter season, the Texas State Operations Center will continually monitor weather conditions and maintain close contact with state agencies and the National Weather Service.

DPS offers the following tips for staying safe during possible winter weather this season:

  • Monitor local weather broadcasts and follow up-to-the-minute weather conditions, at http://www.weather.gov/.
  • Purchase an all-hazards weather radio for up-to-date warnings, watches, forecasts and other hazard information.
  • Sign up for your local emergency notification system.
  • On icy roads, drive slowly, increase distance required for stopping, and avoid using cruise control.
  • Watch for downed trees and power lines across roads. If power is out, treat all intersections as four-way stops.
  • Make sure your vehicle is properly maintained before any trip.
  • Keep your gas tank full.
  • Avoid traveling when sleet, freezing rain or snow is predicted, and monitor road conditions by visiting www.drivetexas.org or by calling 1-800-452-9292.

Winterize your vehicle by checking the battery, windshield wipers (including appropriate freeze resistant-fluid), tire pressure, tire tread, fluid levels, and lubricate door and trunk locks to prevent freezing. In addition, here is a list of emergency supplies drivers can keep in their vehicle:

  • Blankets/sleeping bags, extra clothing, gloves and a hat.
  • Cell phone, radio, flashlight and extra batteries.
  • First-aid kit and pocket knife.
  • High calorie, non-perishable food and bottled water.
  • Bag of sand or cat litter to provide traction for tires.
  • Windshield scraper, tool kit, booster cables, tow rope and a shovel.

harris-county-freezing-alert-logoWhat is the danger?

The National Weather Service is forecasting a strong cold front may drive temperatures below freezing for 2-9 hours on Friday morning. The greatest risk of freezing weather will occur north of Interstate 10 and residents in that area are urged to take basic precautions against the impacts of extreme cold.

What you need to do:

Cold weather preparation is easy – just remember to protect the “Four P’s”: People, pets, pipes, and plants.

People:

  • Keep warm, stay inside if possible.
  • If you need to go out, dress in layers and wear hats, gloves and an appropriate coat.
  • Avoid overexertion, as cold weather puts added strain on your body.
  • Observe heater safety:
    • Never place a space heater on top of furniture or near water.
    • Keep heat sources at least 3 feet away from furniture and drapes.
    • Never leave children unattended near a space heater.

Pets:

  • Bring pets inside, and move other animals or livestock to sheltered areas.
  • Keep adequate food and water available.

Pipes:

  • Disconnect outdoor hoses, drain and store in protected area.
  • Wrap exposed faucets and pipes – including those outside the house or in unheated crawl spaces, attics, garages and other areas.

Plants:

  • Bring potted plants inside or store in garage near interior wall to provide extra warmth and protection from wind.
  • For cold-sensitive outdoor plants, put down extra mulch and consider covering with a cloth fabric of some kind to shield the plants from wind and frost.

Protect yourself from carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning by installing a battery-operated CO detector and never using generators, grills, camp stoves, or similar devices indoors.

It is also recommended that you prepare your car for winter.  Have your car serviced and add antifreeze as needed.

For More Information:

National Weather Service Forecast Office

Federal Emergency Management Agency – Ready.gov