Tropical Depression Beta: Houston officials urge residents to stay home over next 24 hours

George Buenik, Houston's director of safety and homeland security, urged residents to stay home throughout the day and evening Sept. 22. (Courtesy Houston Office of Emergency Management)
George Buenik, Houston's director of safety and homeland security, urged residents to stay home throughout the day and evening Sept. 22. (Courtesy Houston Office of Emergency Management)

George Buenik, Houston's director of safety and homeland security, urged residents to stay home throughout the day and evening Sept. 22. (Courtesy Houston Office of Emergency Management)

Mayor Sylvester Turner is asking Houston residents besides essential workers to stay home and clear Houston's roadways as the slow-moving Tropical Depression Beta moves through the city Sept. 22.

“No one really knows how much rain will come out of those bands or how long we will have between those bands,” Turner said. “Until then we just have to be very careful. ... It could be anywhere between 4 to 6 to 10 inches of rain.”

So far, no structural flooding has been reported through 311, Turner said and all water rescues have been performed from vehicles.

“Every time we talk about flooding we go through the same spiel that the majority of deaths happen in vehicles,” Houston Fire Department Chief Sam Peña said. “It only takes a foot of water to sweep a car away.”

Both the Houston Fire Department and Houston Police Department have rescue teams available as needed.

The system is expected to pass through the region, moving northeast with intermittent bands of rain, said George Buenik, Houston's director of safety and homeland security.

Even with periods of lighter rain, residents should stay alert, as the city is monitoring levels of several major bayous including Keegans, Brays, Clear Creek and Buffalo bayous, Buenik said.

Areas of South and Southwest Houston have seen the most rain so far, Mayor Pro Tem Dave Martin said.

“Those lakes we worry about, Lake Houston and Lake Conroe, are fine, but we are concerned about a couple bayous down on the south side, particularly Clear Creek,” Martin said. “But we are hoping everything stays the same over the next 24 hours.”

A portion of Hwy. 288 near I-69 is blocked off due to flooding, and the city is preemptively blocking other sections of roadways to monitor flood levels before they approach, Turner said.

“One year ago in September, during [Tropical Storm] Imelda, I-45 at North Main [Street] turned into a lake, and more than 100 vehicles were stranded, and we just don’t want to see that happen again,” Turner said. “Be patient if we block certain areas. We are taking a look and seeing what water levels are instead of allowing you to drive through and possibly getting stuck and risking your life.”

Find more road closure information here.
By Emma Whalen
Emma is Community Impact Newspaper's Houston City Hall reporter. Previously, she covered public health, education and features for several Austin-area publications. A Boston native, she is a former student athlete and alumna of The University of Texas at Austin.


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