Harris County Weather Watch
by: Pat Hernandez, February 3, 2011 4:02:00 pm
Temperatures are predicted to drop into the 20s this evening with snow, and treacherous driving conditions should result overnight and tomorrow. Fransisco Sanchez is with the Harris County Office of Homeland Security
Emergncy Management. He says the Emergency Operations Center has been activated and operating at level-2 or high readiness, and helping all the response partners operating with EOC.
"We got transportation partners, public health partners, the fire service, law enforcement, the sheriff's office, and all these partners that are gonna be important for us to be able to respond to the severe winter storm that we're going to be having over the next several hours and into tomorrow."
Sanchez says they've been monitoring conditions with transportation partners since Monday.
"So, what they were able to do over the week is treat the roads in advance of any ice coming on them. Also with our fire service partners, they have all the information they need because obviously, this has impact with heater safety, house fires, that sort of thing. Law enforcement's gonna be on the roadways. Our public health officials, this has impact on carbon monoxide poisoning. So all those elements are important, and that's why we all need to work together and respond quicker for our residents."
With light snow and sleet expected overnight, weather forecasters tell us that as much as 2-inches of snow or sleet could fall, and will likely turn to ice on Houston's roads. Sanchez says regardless of the weather, they treat
any risk and threat the same way.
"Our job as emergency managers is to respond to the risk of something happening, not when something happens, because then we're behind the curve. But this is going to be a shorter event definitely, than a hurricane, but we treat any risk and threat at the same level here."
Elevated roadways like overpasses and bridges might be more vulnerable to ice or snow buildup. If that happens, TxDot will deploy trucks to spread rock and sand mixtures in areas that could pose a driving hazard. Sanchez
says they're preparing for the worst for everyone's safety.
"I really think the public expects us to be able to plan and prepare for whatever happens, not for what actually turns out to be."