All Harris County residents should be sheltering indoors by 6 p.m., Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo urged during a press conference Sept. 13 as Tropical Storm Nicholas approaches the Texas Gulf Coast.
“What I need each resident of this county to do today is to get to where you are going to be by 6 p.m. tonight, and stay there,” Hidalgo said. “Plan to stay there overnight and perhaps through to tomorrow. ... Please do that for your safety and for the safety of our first responders.”
The storm is expected to bring up to 10 inches of rain before Sept. 15 in parts of the county, according to the Harris County Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Management.
Hidalgo said she has been communicating with Gov. Greg Abbott Sept. 13 about the approaching storm, and added Abbott is in the process of filing a disaster declaration, which includes Harris County.
“Please stay vigilant,” Hidalgo said. “This has the potential to be a very dangerous storm for our county, particularly the more you head toward the southeast.”
County leaders have been coordinating with the Red Cross, local law enforcement and roadway officials to prepare for the storm, Hidalgo said. Emergency personnel are setting up road barricades in flood-prone areas, fueling up high-water emergency vehicles and communicating with especially vulnerable residents.
County leaders do not yet know how severe the storm will be for Harris County, but Hidalgo reminded locals to avoid flooded roadways.
“All the folks who lose their cars—as opposed to lose their lives—during a heavy rain, they don't go in there thinking their car is going to flood,” Hidalgo said.
County offices closed Sept. 13 and will remain closed through Sept. 14. Harris County Public Health coronavirus testing and vaccination sites will also be closed, Hidalgo said, and city trash services will not run.
Additionally, all Harris County Public Library branches will be closed Sept. 14, and all holds and due dates for library materials will be extended to Sept. 16.
For updates on the storm from the HCOHSEM, text Gulf2021 to 888777 or click here.