Texas Prepares For Heavy Rains And Flooding
Gov. Greg Abbott has activated the Texas State Operations Center (SOC ) as officials across the state prepare for severe storms that are expected this weekend due to Hurricane Patricia.
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As Hurricane Patricia — the most powerful hurricane ever recorded by the National Hurricane Center — was bearing down on Mexico today, Texans were being urged to be prepared. Abbott also approved the use of state resources staged for rapid deployment to assist local officials during severe weather, according to a press release issued by the governor’s office.
“Today’s elevated activation of the State Operations Center will better equip first responders and local officials with the resources needed to combat inclement weather expected over the weekend,” Abbott said. “The State of Texas stands ready to provide support to communities as needed, and I urge all Texans to closely monitor changing weather conditions in their area and heed warnings from local and state officials.”
Department of Public Safety Director Steven McCraw said, “Strong storms and heavy rains can quickly create dangerous flash flooding, so DPS is urging Texans to closely monitor severe weather conditions through the weekend.”
It is “critical that residents also do their part by using extra caution on roadways, and avoiding flooded areas and low-water crossings,” he said.
Bexar County remains under a flash flood watch through 7 a.m. Sunday, as the storm system moves into the area and local emergency officials prepare for heavy rains and high water rescues.
Chances for more precipitation increase throughout the weekend with the heaviest rainfall expected to fall early Saturday into the evening. Bexar County is likely to see 6 to 8 inches with some areas getting up to 10 inches of rain, said National Weather Service Meteorologist Eric Platt, who is based in New Braunfels.
Southeast Bexar County is expected to get heavier rainfall than San Antonio, Platt said. The inclement weather is expected to shift east on Sunday.
The heavy rain is a result of an upper level trough interacting with intense Hurricane Patricia, a Category 5 hurricane with sustained winds of 200 mph, moving over the eastern Pacific.
The National Weather Service also reported early today that in addition to heavy rain, there is also a threat for isolated tornadoes on Saturday into the evening made possible by a low pressure system moving across the Rio Grande plains and coastal prairies. The tornado threat is expected south of a line from Eagle Pass to San Antonio to La Grange, the NWS said.
In response to Hurricane Patricia, AT&T is eliminating international calling and text message fees from the U.S. to Mexico from today through Thursday, Nov. 5, for wireless and wire-line customers.
In a press release the company said “it is our hope that family members can quickly connect with loved ones in the region as soon as possible.”
This also applies to AT&T customers traveling in Mexico through Nov. 5, as well. They will not be charged for calls to the U.S. or face any international roaming fees.
For Texans, according to the governor's office, current resources available include:
- Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS): Texas Highway Patrol personnel and aircraft are activated and will provided assistance as needed, including rescue efforts.
- 2-1-1: Personnel will be monitoring school late openings, closures, and providing information to callers as needed.
- Texas Parks & Wildlife Department (TPWD): Game Wardens in all regions of the state are on alert for the possibility of flash flooding/water rescue events and deployment.
- Texas Military Forces (TMF):TMF is providing aircraft, high-profile vehicles, and personnel to support flooding-assistance efforts in impacted areas.
- Texas Task Force 1 (TTF1): Activated and ready with boat rescue squads for rapid deployment.
- Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT):TxDOT crews are prepared to respond to flooding conditions with barricades, water pumps and heavy equipment.