Houston should prepare for possible heavy rainfall over the next few days as a system moves onshore over the Texas coast today, the Harris County Flood Control District cautions.
“The average rainfall in Harris County is expected to be 3-6 inches, with isolated higher amounts,” the flood district said in a Monday morning update.
Showers and thunderstorms with locally heavy rainfall are expected through Thursday as the system moves through the area.
The Addicks and Barker reservoirs’ floodgates were closed Sunday in preparation for the rainfall.
“Harris County residents are urged to monitor weather conditions,” the district says. “Heavy rainfall could quickly overwhelm storm sewers and roadside ditches.
Robert Lazaro of Harris County Flood Control District Communications offers the following tips:
--TURN AROUND, DON'T DROWN: If heavy rainfall occurs in any area where you are traveling, or near homes and places of work, you are urged to avoid high water and flooded streets throughout the county and to proceed with caution when driving on area roadways.
--STAY HOME, DON'T ROAM: When faced with a flooding situation, stay put wherever you are, unless your life is threatened or you are ordered to evacuate and do not drive or walk into high water areas.
The Flood Control District will work at the Harris County Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Management. The Flood Watch team will monitor rainfall trends and check the gauges 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.
With heavy rainfall comes the potential of flooding, so it is important for Harris County residents to be aware of conditions near their workplaces, schools and homes.
The Flood Control District urges all residents to monitor rainfall and bayou water levels on its Harris County Regional Flood Warning System website (desktop and mobile versions) at https://www.harriscountyfws.org . The agency has added inundation mapping to the Harris County Flood Warning System, providing a new tool to help emergency management officials and residents make safety decisions during flooding events.
Inundation mapping provides information about areas of current bayou and channel flooding, based on information collected by Flood Warning System gage stations strategically placed along Harris County bayous and their tributaries. This information is used by the Flood Control District and by Harris County's Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Management to inform the public of estimated flooding impacts across the county.
Here’s how the map works:
--Go to harriscountyfws.org on your desktop or mobile device.
--The "MAP VIEW OPTIONS" section at the top left allows you to add inundation mapping and other features to the county map. When there has been no rainfall, the inundation mapping feature will not be available.
--Go to the "ADDRESS SEARCH" box in the lower left column and type your address.
--The map will zoom to the gage station nearest to your location of interest. The icon shows the amount of rainfall (in inches) received at that location in the past 24 hours.
--Click on the gauge station icon for more detailed information.
--Other "MAP VIEW OPTIONS" allow you to add watershed boundaries, drainage channels and channel status icons to the county map. You can also change the setting in the "RAINFALL DATA" section to see rainfall during various time periods.
Here are other flood preparedness tips:
--Avoid driving, if possible. If you must venture out, avoid driving into water of unknown depth. Moving water can quickly sweep you and your vehicle away.
--Restrict children from playing in flooded areas.
--Remain in your home during the storm unless instructed to evacuate by local officials.
. Have a flood insurance policy. For information on flood insurance, visit the National Flood Insurance Program website or call 1-888-379-9531.
--Know your home's risk of flooding. You can view a Flood Insurance Rate Map (FIRM or floodplain map) at the Federal Emergency Management Agency's Map Service Center.
--Follow developments on Twitter @HCFCD and look for the hashtag #HCFCDnews.