From understanding forecasts to keeping up with weather and other special alerts, staying informed before, during, and after an event is a critical component of keeping you and your family safe. Tune into your favorite local new source for complete coverage of severe weather; however, here are some more sources that you can use to stay informed during events.
The National Weather Service is the primary source for all “normal” as well as severe weather forecasts and alerts. For the greater Houston area, we are served by the Houston/Galveston Office. To help better understand some of the severe weather forecasts, here are some key terms to remember with respect to flooding.
Before severe weather hits, the National Weather Service will produce various products to estimate rainfall, wind, tornado, hail, fire danger, etc. that will help residents and communities have an understanding of the severity of the storm so they can prepare for what’s ahead. Below are a few products that have been produced in the past.
The key thing to remember when viewing forecasts, especially map related forecasts, is that they are an estimate of the forecasts. They typically give a magnitude of the event; however, the final location and intensity can and will vary. Even if you are “just outside” of an area, just know that weather systems can shift. This is why it is always recommended to prepare before storms hit.
When severe weather hits, the Advanced Hydrologic Prediction Service produces river forecasts for various streams across the country.
For more information on River Forecasts, please visit our Understanding River Forecasts Page.
Additionally, Harris County has developed a Flood Warning System that includes Harris County and the surrounding areas. The Flood Warning System is a network of stream gauges that give close to real time conditions (stream height and rainfall amounts) of various streams in and around Harris County.
Social media has become one of the biggest positive improvements to sharing critical information during disasters. At the same time, it has also become of the biggest source of misinformation and confusion during disasters. This misinformation causes several problems for your neighbors as well as emergency personal. For information on how to avoid the pitfalls of sharing miss information, please visit our Social Media Page. Borrowing from one of the most iconic prevention slogans of all time:
Only you can prevent social media misinformation.
Thankfully, the majority of our area has been blessed to maintain power, internet and/or phone service during many of our flood events that have occurred in past few years. But for those of us impacted by the days and weeks of power outages during Hurricane Ike, we can easily imagine an event that includes the same flood impacts of Hurricane Harvey with the massive power outages of Hurricane Ike. First take a moment to review our Assemble Disaster Supplies Page. An important item on that list is a battery-powered radio and a NOAA Weather Radio with tone alert and extra batteries for both. With limited to no power, TV or cell service, radios become one of the only sources of emergency notifications.