The Fort Bend County Office of Emergency Management has been closely watching the weather forecast to ensure the County is ready for whatever comes our way. Today, the US National Weather Service Houston-Galveston Texas issued a Flash Flood Watch for our area for Friday afternoon through Saturday morning. It will rain on and off between now and tomorrow evening, with rainfall rates increasing as time goes on. Forecasts call for between 3 and 6 inches across the entire county, but any given location could see as little as 3 inches or as much as 10 inches.
What to expect?
Generally (average over the whole county) there will be a lot of rainfall and we can expect localized (limited to a certain smaller area) street flooding and high creeks, streams, and bayous as they work to move the rain to the rivers. Any impacts on the Brazos or San Bernard Rivers will be delayed as rainfall in the watersheds will have to work its way south to us. Some areas can expect excessive amounts of rain, as some storm cells will dump more than others. In those areas, streets, streams, creeks, and bayous will not be able to drain fast enough and some localized flooding is possible.
What do we expect for timing?
We don’t expect the most serious rain to come until Friday evening. It should continue overnight and taper off early Saturday morning. These are estimates, and you should stay tuned to local news for more information on timing and impact.
What can you do to stay safe?
Today, while you can, make sure drains near your house are cleared of debris, and park vehicles off the street if you can. If you know your property floods frequently, take steps to protect yourself and your property, including any holiday decorations that may be swept into drains. Avoid traveling late tomorrow evening if you can, and make alternate arrangements now. Arrive or leave early if you need to be out tomorrow evening when the heaviest rain falls. If your best planning still leaves you driving in the severe rain, remember it’s better to turn around than it is to drown. Even if you survive a bad decision to drive through deep water, your vehicle may not. Flooded cars can cost their owners thousands of dollars in repairs and can leave you without transportation for weeks while it is repaired or replaced. In floods, twice as many people die in their cars as all other flood deaths combined; don’t be a statistic: turn around, don’t drown. In widespread flash flooding, it is difficult for us to track every road closure; you must be responsible for your safety.
How can you stay informed?
The Office of Emergency Management is closely monitoring the situation and will update Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/fbcoem/) and Twitter (http://twitter.com/fbcoem/), as well as the Fort Bend County OEM website (http://fbcoem.org/) if changing conditions warrant. Take time now to like, follow, subscribe, share, and turn on notifications on social media to get the FBC OEM updates in near-real-time. Local media is covering this threat extensively and the official source for forecasts and weather impacts is the National Weather Service Houston/Galveston website (https://www.weather.gov/hgx/). For river forecasts see our website at http://fbcoem.org/fort-bend-county-waterways-rivers/.