Better Safe Than Sorry: Houstonians Comment On City And County Shutdown

Image provided by a Harris County OHSEM tweet.
After the morning commute today turned out much easier than predicted, some are asking, was all that precaution necessary? Some Houstonians shared their opinions on how officials should have reacted to the weather forecast.

All area school districts were closed, and so were Harris County and City of Houston facilities and also many private businesses. All in anticipation of another ice storm like the one last Friday that resulted in hundreds of accidents in the greater Houston area.

But of course, Houston roads remained mostly ice-free all morning and traffic flowed freely on most freeways. So the question comes up: Did officials overreact?

Eric James from Friendswood thinks so. He was shopping in the Galleria around noon and had absolutely no trouble driving in this morning.

“Just came back from Chicago two weeks ago. Chicago is pretty cold, this is nothing. I think it’s ridiculous. I feel like the public is panicking for no reason and, you know, there’s no point.”

Ryan Sahadel from Trinidad and Tobago has a different opinion. He’s in the city on business but his company’s office closed for the day.

“I think it was a good precaution our office took, for instance, especially driving.  A lot of people here, especially me, where I’m from, Trinidad, not experienced in driving on sleet conditions or icy conditions, so I guess it’s better safe than sorry.”

Maguid Mokbil from Switzerland is used to driving on ice and snow. But he understands why local officials here in Houston took the precautions they did.

“If it would have been a really hard day today and the weather would have been a bit harsh, maybe, I think, it was better to take prevention, but in my opinion maybe it was a bit too much.”

If you ask Harris County Judge Ed Emmett, the school, city and county closings occurred not just because of the potentially dangerous morning commute.

“But the original projection was that once the ice got here, then the temperature was not going to get above freezing until tomorrow, and that’s why everybody had to close because it would have been almost impossible for the school buses to take kids home from school in the afternoon. It was that afternoon drive time we were always worried about.”

Emmett spent most of the day at Houston TranStar to monitor conditions and update the public on new developments.

He says we “dodged the proverbial bullet.”

But of course, that won’t keep internet commenters from comparing all the preparation to the mass evacuation before Hurricane Rita, which never hit the Houston area. Or people from elsewhere laughing about Houston shutting down over some sleet.

To which Andrew Dill from Texas City only says,

“Let ‘em laugh.” 

Bio photo of Florian Martin

Florian Martin

Reporter/NewsLab Coordinator

Florian Martin is the KUHF NewsLab Coordinator. While guiding and overseeing interns, he works on his own stories and is always on call to cover breaking news and other media events...