Houston, Harris County prepare for possible street flooding

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HOUSTON — With heavy rain expected to start Wednesday, Houston and Harris County officials spent Tuesday preparing for possible street flooding.

As of Tuesday afternoon, both the county and city emergency operations centers were on standby.

Cory Stottlemeyer, a public information officer with Houston’s Office of Emergency Management, said Mayor Sylvester Turner told the city’s public safety departments to work together and prepare for high water situations.

“We’ve seen in previous rain events, you can’t always predict where the heaviest rainfall’s gonna pop up,” Stottlemeyer said.

Stottlemeyer said Houston’s police and fire departments have deployed high water rescue vehicles near the spots that usually flood. Public works crews are staging barricades to quickly block underpasses while standing by to remove debris.

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The city has set up a website with a map showing the most flood-prone streets, intersections, and underpasses.

“The street drainage systems, they’re designed for about two inches of rain an hour,” said Jeff Lindner, a meteorologist with the Harris County Flood Control District. “You start getting and four inches an hour, and you’re going to get the street flooding. So that’s what we’re really most concerned about right now.”

Lindner said it’s good news bayous are low and, unlike during May’s flooding, the ground is dry.

“As long as we see waves of rain move through and we get breaks between those waves of rain, most of our drainage systems will be able to handle this,” Lindner said.

Transtar’s website and app will show users where street flooding is likely in Harris County based on current rainfall.

Houston residents can also sign up for location-based flooding alerts through text, call or email through the Alert Houston website.