FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
DATE: February 14, 2017 5:34:37 AM CST
City of Houston to Activate Emergency Operations Center as Severe Weather is Expected.
City of Houston Residents Urged to Be Vigilant, Prepare for Storms
HOUSTON - The City of Houston Office of Emergency Management (OEM) will activate the City's Emergency Operations Center to Level III (Increased Readiness) at 8:00 a.m. this morning as severe weather is expected to begin impacting the City.
The National Weather Service has placed Houston under a Tornado Watch until 1:00 p.m. due to the possibility of the formation of tornadoes. Additionally, today's storm system may bring bouts of heavy rain, which will lead to flash and street flooding throughout the city, as well as very strong straight-line winds, which have the ability to topple trees and power lines and throw debris.
The Emergency Operations Center, located at the Houston Emergency Center in north Houston, is the central coordination point for City departments, as well as houses the regional Catastrophic Medical Operations Center (CMOC). It exists to ensure effective coordination between city departments during emergencies, and acts as the liaison to other local, state and federal agencies engaged in a response.
The EOC will be initially staffed by representatives from the Office of Emergency Management, Houston Fire Department, Houston Police Department and Public Works & Engineering Department. If more impacts occur, additional departments may be asked to staff the EOC to manage public health and safety, building inspection, and public information.
Houston residents are being asked to stay informed of changing conditions by monitoring local media weather broadcasts, NOAA Weather Alert Radio, and by signing up for AlertHouston, the City's emergency notification system at houstontx.gov/emergency.
Additionally, the City encourages residents to sign up for CenterPoint Energy's Power Alert Service, which can keep them informed in the event power outages affect their area. Registration is available for free at CenterPointEnergy.com/PowerAlertService.
Residents should be prepared to seek shelter in the event a Tornado WARNING is issued for their area. The safest place during a tornado is in an interior room on the lowest floor possible, avoiding doors and windows. If you are driving, pull over and seek shelter in a substantial structure. Remember, in an Tornado Warning, you should: Get In. Get Low, and Hold On.
In the event a Flash Flood Warning is issued for their area, Houston residents should seek higher ground, and avoid low-lying areas, such as bayous, creeks and streams, as well as freeway underpasses and low-lying streets. If you cannot see the street, the water is too high for you to drive through. Turn Around, Don't Drown®.
Impacts and Cancellations
At this time, City services are all on normal schedule, and will be unaffected.
Information on today's weather can be found by visiting the National Weather Service Houston/Galveston Forecast Office website at weather.gov/houston.
Public Information Officer