Disaster declaration issued for 4 Houston-area counties ahead of Tropical Storm Beta

Forecasters currently predict Tropical Storm Beta will make landfall the evening of Sept. 22 along the middle Texas coast then slowly move along the coast or slightly inland through the Greater Houston region toward Louisiana. (Courtesy National Weather Service)
Forecasters currently predict Tropical Storm Beta will make landfall the evening of Sept. 22 along the middle Texas coast then slowly move along the coast or slightly inland through the Greater Houston region toward Louisiana. (Courtesy National Weather Service)

Forecasters currently predict Tropical Storm Beta will make landfall the evening of Sept. 22 along the middle Texas coast then slowly move along the coast or slightly inland through the Greater Houston region toward Louisiana. (Courtesy National Weather Service)

Updated 10:57 a.m. Sept. 23

Clear Creek and Friendswood ISDs remain closed Sept. 23, but Alvin and Pearland ISDs resumed normal operations. All University of Houston-Clear Lake campuses will be open for normal operations at 12 p.m. Sept. 23; College of the Mainland also resumed normal operations. In-person activity at San Jacinto College is canceled Sept. 23 although remote learning will continue as scheduled.

Updated 10:59 a.m. Sept. 22

Clear Creek, Friendswood, Alvin and Pearland ISDs remain closed due to weather Sept. 22. All University of Houston-Clear Lake campuses are now closed until further notice. In-person activity at College of the Mainland and San Jacinto College is canceled Sept. 22, although remote learning will continue as scheduled.

For updated storm information, click here.



Originally posted 12:44 p.m. Sept. 21

As Tropical Storm Beta approaches the Texas coast, several Bay Area school districts, colleges and city entities have announced closures for Sept. 21 “out of an abundance of caution.”

Gov. Greg Abbott on Sept. 21 issued a disaster declaration in response to the storm for 29 counties, including Brazoria, Fort Bend, Harris and Galveston. Heavy rain and flash flooding may occur with this slow-moving tropical system, although the expected rain amounts are the most uncertain part of the forecast, according to the National Weather Service’s 10:30 a.m. update.

Clear Creek ISD announced its weather-related closure at 7 p.m. Sept. 20 for the following day. This closure impacts all students, including those attending through the Clear Connections online platform, and all extracurricular activities; a decision for Sept. 22 will be made at a later time, according to a media release.

Friendswood, Pearland and Alvin ISDs all followed suit about two hours later. Like CCISD, the closures also affect online learners in those districts. Although Fort Bend County is included in the disaster declaration, Fort Bend ISD is open Sept. 21.

“Out of an abundance of caution, FISD will be closed tomorrow due to Tropical Storm Beta along with all Galveston County School Districts,” FISD Communication Specialist Kelsey Purcell said in an email. “Jeff Linder with the Harris County Flood Control District shared concerns about possible bands producing heavy rain and local flooding overnight and into [Sept. 21]. We will meet again with HCFCD late tomorrow afternoon to reassess returning to school Tuesday.”

Seabrook Mayor Thom Kolupski signed a local disaster declaration the morning of Sept. 21 to assist the city with storm mitigation and recovery. A voluntary evacuation for residents and business owners in low-lying, flood-prone areas—specifically lower Todville from Red Bluff south to SH 146 and Baywood Drive—was issued midday Sept. 19, according to a news release.

Also on the morning of Sept. 21, the city of League City closed Heritage Park, the Dr. Ned and Fay Dudney Clear Creek Nature Center, and the League City Boat ramp until further notice due to a storm surge causing flooding in the city’s low-lying areas.

Bay Area higher education institutions vary in their response to the impending storm: College of the Mainland canceled in-person classes and on-campus operations but will hold online and virtual learning as scheduled, while all University of Houston-Clear Lake locations remain open, as does San Jacinto College.

The Houston Public Works Department initiated the temporary lowering of Lake Houston on the evening of Sept. 19 in preparation for the storm, according to a news release from Mayor Pro Tem Dave Martin’s office. The lake was at a level of 42.02 feet at the time of the Sept. 19 news release, and lowering began that evening to get the lake to 41 feet, which is 1 foot below full pool, per the release. If 3 inches or more of rainfall are anticipated, the lake is lowered, per the release.

Forecasters currently predict the storm will make landfall the evening of Sept. 22 along the middle Texas coast then slowly move along the coast or slightly inland through the Greater Houston region toward Louisiana. Their confidence in the storm’s track is moderate.

By Colleen Ferguson
A native central New Yorker, Colleen Ferguson worked as an editorial intern with the Cy-Fair and Lake Houston | Humble | Kingwood editions of Community Impact before joining the Bay Area team in 2020. Colleen graduated from Syracuse University in 2019, where she worked for the campus's independent student newspaper The Daily Orange, with a degree in Newspaper and Online Journalism from the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications and a degree in Spanish language and culture. Colleen previously interned with The Journal News/lohud, where she covered the commute in the greater New York City area.

<

MOST RECENT

Up to 40,000 Blue Cross Blue Shield of Texas members could be impacted if a contract agreement cannot be reached. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
CHI St. Luke's Hospital faces potential contract termination with Blue Cross Blue Shield of Texas at multiple Houston, Southeast Texas locations

If an agreement cannot be reached, up to 40,000 Houstonians could find their local hospital is out of network for Blue Cross Blue Shield of Texas.

houston skyline from afar
State of the city: Mayor Sylvester Turner warns Houston’s recovery could be slow, inequitable

The mayor touted the city's resilience but said that recovery from the coronavirus recession is starting to leave vulnerable communities behind.

Lane Graham at Hall Elementary shows off the observer he made in engineering lab. (Courtesy Clear Creek ISD)
Clear Creek ISD ignites students’ STEM passions virtually, in person through enhanced science programs

Liaisons for the Science Magnet and Elementary-STEM programs said the experiences young learners gain through enriched STEM education are critical in maintaining their social and emotional health amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo speaks during BayTran's 21st Annual State of the Counties. (Courtesy BayTran)
Area county judges reflect on COVID-19 during BayTran State of the Counties

Though the event was held virtually this year, county leaders had a lot to say during the 21st Annual State of the Counties for the Bay Area Houston Transportation Partnership.

Oct. 23 is the last day Texas voters can apply for a vote-by-mail ballot. (Courtesy Pexels)
Tackling Texas' vote-by-mail system: Applying, delivering, tracking your ballot

Oct. 23 is the last day Texas voters can apply for a vote-by-mail ballot.

Voters wait in line to cast their ballots at Juergen's Hall Community Center in Cy-Fair. (Shawn Arrajj/Community Impact Newspaper)
Harris County’s early-voting turnout up 23% over same time frame in 2016 general election

The five busiest polling locations in Harris County have averaged more than 1,700 in-person voters daily thus far during early voting.

Houston City Council passed a tax rate Oct. 21 of $0.56184 per $100 valuation for fiscal year 2020-21, a 1.07% reduction from the previous year’s tax rate of $0.56792 per $100 valuation. (Courtesy Fotolia)
Houston approves lower tax rate for fiscal year 2020-21 amid calls for further reductions

The rate may still result in an increase for some taxpayers with the average homestead property value rising about 4%.

Oct. 15 was the last day to complete the U.S. 2020 Census. (Chance Flowers/Community Impact Newspaper)
Here is what 2020 U.S. Census self-response rates look like for 6 Southeast Houston, Bay Area cities

About six in every 10 residents in Harris, Brazoria and Galveston counties had responded to the 2020 Census as of Oct. 16, three days after the United States Supreme Court ruled to end data collection early.

Target has built out its new store at 2075 Westheimer Road, Houston. (Matt Dulin/Community Impact Newspaper)
Target to open fourth Inner Loop location and more Houston-area business, community news

Read the latest business and community news from the Houston area.

Baylor College of Medicine is seeking volunteers for a COVID-19 study looking to determine the prevalence of the viral disease in the Houston area. (Courtesy Baylor College of Medicine)
Baylor College of Medicine recruiting participants for COVID-19 prevalence study

The study will collect samples from 70,000 individuals nationwide.

Hurricane Harvey hit the Houston region in 2017. (Vanessa Holt/Community Impact Newspaper)
Q&A: Houston hydrologist explains climate change’s role in intensified flooding, importance of planning for future storms

“We’re looking at more intense and more frequent storms, and so, as a region, we’re going to need to think about that when we’re planning. We need to plan for that worst-case climate change [scenario].”

Some Harris County residents could be eligible for free workforce training. (Courtesy Lone Star College System)
Harris County partners with Lone Star College to offer free workforce training this fall

Furloughed, unemployed and underemployed Harris County residents could be eligible for one of 17 training programs.