A line of thunderstorms producing heavy rain and large hail pounded areas north and northwest of Houston Thursday evening. Some locations saw four inches of rain in one hour, while others reported golf ball-sized hail. As of late Thursday night, Briar Forest Drive was closed due to high water between Highway 6 and Eldrige. Briar Branch, in Spring Branch, was also going over its banks.
At a joint news conference earlier in the day, Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner and Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo warned people to stay home and off the roads if possible. "This weather event that is moving into our area is a very serious one, and everyone needs to take it very seriously," said Turner.
"The areas especially that have already been impacted, where the water has already saturated the ground, those areas are going to be at higher risk for flooding," said Hidalgo.
Harris County's Office of Emergency Management is operating at Level III readiness. The City of Houston reports that all departments are ready to respond to flash flooding or high-water locations. Houston police and fire have positioned rescue boats and high water vehicles. Houston Public Works crews have pre-staged barricades, dump trucks and debris removal equipment.
Two shelters are open for those affected by flooding. One at the First Baptist Church in Kingwood and another at St. Thomas Catholic Church in Meyerland.
A Flash Flood Watch is in effect for most of Southeast Texas until Saturday night.