Harris County announces Flood Safety Awareness Week, April 2-8


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 the HCOHSEM 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 http://www.floodsafety.noaa.gov. Local forecast information available at http://www.weather.gov/hgx/.