Bellaire, West University Place finalize emergency preparations for incoming tropical storms

Despite COVID-19, emergency operations in Bellaire and West University Place are in the midst of final preparations for two approaching tropical storms. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
Despite COVID-19, emergency operations in Bellaire and West University Place are in the midst of final preparations for two approaching tropical storms. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)

Despite COVID-19, emergency operations in Bellaire and West University Place are in the midst of final preparations for two approaching tropical storms. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)

While tropical storms Marco and Laura churn in the Gulf of Mexico, the cities of Bellaire and West University Place have been finalizing preparations.

Tropical Storm Marco is expected to have a minimal impact on the Greater Houston area, but the National Weather Service believes Laura will eventually strengthen before it passes over Houston late Aug. 26 to early Aug. 27 with 105 mph winds as a Category 2 hurricane, according to late Aug. 24 projections.

The city of Bellaire is keeping track of both storms through its Emergency Operations Center, which is currently at Level III - Increased Readiness, said Deacon Tittel, Bellaire’s emergency management coordinator and fire chief.

“We started meeting on Thursday, August 20th and have been meeting daily to discuss our plans of preparation and strategy as we move forward,” Tittel said in an email. “This team consists of department heads and essential staff members for the City. Each team member has a role in the EOC in preparing for the incident/event that could occur.”

The center operates in accordance with federal emergency management guidelines, shared by the EOC for the city of West University Place. Both cities also maintain notification systems to residents who have signed up, either through West University’s NewsFlash or Swift911, or Bellaire’s NotifyMe or PrepaireBellaire.

Laura’s expected path through the Gulf of Mexico remains a forecast, with the storm most likely to track into eastern portions of the upper Texas coast or southwest Louisiana.

However, should Marco and/or Laura pass over Houston, West University residents should expect service interruptions beginning Aug. 27 for collection of trash, recycling and yard waste, as well as closure of recreational facilities and City offices, according to the city’s webpage.

The emergency operations center in Bellaire has been active since the COVID-19 pandemic came to Houston, with West University Place planning to activate its EOC Aug. 26.

Officials of both cities felt they were prepared for the approaching storms.

“Having a current activation for COVID-19 and being able to incorporate plans and preparation for a Tropical System has been a challenge, but one that we feel we are ready for,” Tittel said in an email.
By Hunter Marrow
Hunter Marrow came to Community Impact Newspaper in January 2020. Before that, Hunter covered local news in Ontario, OR for three years, covering municipal issues, crime, and education across Malheur County and across the border into Idaho.


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