The National Weather Service (NWS) warned that Houston and surrounding areas would have heavy rains through Thursday, roughly 4-6 inches. Hazards include “flash flooding, potential for several inches of rain to fall in a short time period that would increase the flash flood threat and coastal flooding from high tides.”
NWS meteorologists issued a blanket flash flood watch for all of Southeast Texas until Thursday morning.
Harris County prepared for three days of heavy rain by deploying the Houston Fire Department’s new water strike team for possible flooding rescues.
Officials with the department said it would staff nine high-water rescue vehicles across the region, with four of the tall trucks in each quadrant of the city, and the five remaining vehicles to be deployed as needed, The Houston Chronicle reported.
The water rescue team is conducting community assessments with drones, has 20 evacuation boats, 11 rescue boats, three Achilles boats, nine Wave Runners (jet skis) and 25 trucks with trailers available to handle rescues. Two rescue swimmers are available on a Houston Police Department helicopter. Boat squads are being held in College Station for deployment as needed.
This is a huge improvement since Hurricane Harvey when the city’s rescue fleet consisted of only ONE high water rescue vehicle. After a Houston Chronicle investigation revealed major inadequacies in its rescue fleet, the city of Houston spent $2 million to give firefighters better water rescue training, doubled the size of its boat fleet, and added eight new high water rescue trucks.