HOUSTON (FOX 26) - Area emergency officials are preparing for the potential of severe weather this weekend. The concern is mostly for flooding on roadways. If heavy rain does hit Houston it depends on how quickly it comes down that will determine if there is any street flooding. Underpasses and low lying areas that normally are at risk of high water will likely have flooding in the event of long periods of heavy rain.
The Houston Office of Emergency Management is keeping a close eye on the sky. "We’re looking at the storm systems out to our West and also looking at some of the environmental conditions that have the potential to result in flash flooding throughout the area,” explains Michael Walter with the City of Houston Office of Emergency Management.
Harris County Emergency Management is also prepping for possible poor weekend weather. "The ground is pretty dry so we can absorb a lot of water. It’s about rainfall rates and the duration,” adds Harris County Emergency Management Coordinator Mark Sloan.
However, at this point only Mother Nature knows how much rain will fall on Houston this weekend. "We know we’re going to have rain. It’s when we get heavy downpours we know we’re going to have ponding on our roadways and potential flooding,” says Sloan.
"When that happens we end up with flash flooding. We end up with roadways filling up with water very quickly creating a very dangerous situation for folks who may be out on the roads,” adds Walter.
“In the summer obviously it’s daylight until 9:00 p.m. so visibility is better than it is this time of year when we start to see it getting dark at 6:30 p.m. and when there’s water on the roadway it looks like blacktop. It looks smooth,” says Sloan.
"People who get into tough situations don’t even realize there’s water in front of them and they drive right into it because the rain is falling so hard, so fast,” explains Walter.
In April a 25 year old woman died on the Westpark Tollway at Post Oak after she drove into high water. In an effort to prevent any future street flooding deaths emergency officials are being proactive, rather than reactive. They have high water vehicles, rescue boats, public works dump trucks and pre-positioned barricades ready to go “IF” there is ponding or street flooding this weekend.
"Unfortunately we’ve lost lives in the past due to flooding. So it’s important people pay attention to turn around don’t drown” explains Sloan.