Texas Governor Greg Abbott has announced an elevated activation of the Texas State Operations Center (SOC) as severe storms are expected to impact parts of Texas through early next week. State resources are available for rapid deployment as needed to assist local officials during this significant weather event, and Texans are also encouraged to prepare for severe weather in their area.
“We urge Texans to closely monitor the changing weather conditions in their area and heed warnings from local officials, as these storms have the potential to bring dangerous flash flooding, damaging winds and hail, and the possibility for tornadoes.” said Governor Abbott. “Ensuring the safety of Texans is paramount, and the state stands ready to provide support to our local leaders as this weather system moves through our state.”
Current forecasts indicate the possibility of severe thunderstorms, large hail, damaging winds, flash flooding and tornadoes across the state through Tuesday. In preparation for these storms, the SOC – in coordination with the Texas Emergency Management Council – will continue to monitor weather conditions and coordinate with the National Weather Service.
With potentially severe weather in the forecast for most parts of the state, the Texas Department of Transportation reminds drivers to use caution when traveling.
Weather reports indicate severe thunderstorms, hail, strong winds, flash floods and chances for tornadoes are all possible in areas across the state today, into the weekend and for much of East Texas through next week. As flooding continues to be the leading cause of all weather-related deaths in Texas, TxDOT strongly encourages all drivers to take extra precautions on the road by following these tips:
- If water is covering a road, don’t try to cross. As little as six inches of water can float some vehicles.
- It is illegal to remove barricades blocking lower water crossings. Penalties can range from $200 to $1,000 and/or two years in jail.
- Never try to walk, swim or drive through swift water.
- If your vehicle stalls in deep water, leave it and move to higher ground if you can do so safely.
- Turn around; don’t drown.
Also, for added security, consider these safe-driving tips at all times when behind the wheel:
- Wear seat belt
- Put phone away
- Slow down; drive to conditions
- Never drive drunk
- Obey all traffic laws
Texans are also encouraged to follow these safety tips during this weather event:
- When severe storms threaten, the safest place to be is indoors.
- If you are outdoors, seek shelter in a home, large building or automobile. Do not take shelter in sheds, pavilions, tents, dugouts, or other small, open sided buildings.
- Avoid areas already flooded and avoid any fast-flowing water.
- Be extremely cautious of any water on roads or in creeks, streams, storm drains or other areas – never attempt to cross flowing streams or drive across flooded roadways.
- Remember that dangerous waters can seem deceptively calm, and if you encounter flooding, move to higher ground.
- Monitor weather radios and news broadcasts for updated information on current and anticipated severe weather.
- Keep in mind that flood dangers are even harder to recognize at night.
For additional safety tips related to tornadoes, thunderstorms and flooding, see: http://dps.texas.gov/dem/ThreatAwareness/weather_aware_severe.htm.
The following state resources have been identified for activation if needed:
Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS): DPS personnel and resources are on standby as needed.
Texas Parks & Wildlife Department (TPWD): Game wardens in all regions of the state are prepared for deployment in the event of flash flooding/water rescue incidents.
Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS): DSHS is making preparations to activate the State Medical Operations Center (SMOC) as conditions warrant.
Texas Military Forces (TMF): TMF personnel and rescue resources are ready for rapid deployment as needed.
Texas Task Force 1 (TTF1): Remains on standby with boat rescue squads available.
Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ): TCEQ continues to monitor dams and river levels in the affected areas.
Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT): TxDOT crews are prepared to deploy resources as needed to address possible flooding conditions impacting roadways.
Public Utility Commission of Texas (PUC): PUC personnel are on standby to respond to potential power/utility issues.
Voluntary Organizations Active in Disasters (VOAD): VOAD organizations continue to monitor the situation and prepare for activation as needed.
Additional partners and resources include: Texas A&M Forest Service; Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service; Civil Air Patrol; Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs; Texas Department of Criminal Justice; Texas General Land Office; Texas Health and Human Services Commission; Texas Department of Insurance; Railroad Commission of Texas; Texas Education Agency; Department of Aging and Disability Services; Department of Family and Protective Services; Texas Workforce Commission; Texas Animal Health Commission; Texas 2-1-1; and Texas Department of Information Resources.
Road conditions and traffic updates are available at DriveTexas.org or on Facebook, www.facebook.com/txdot and Twitter, www.twitter.com/txdot.