Tropical Storm Edouard: Real Live Training

Tropical Storm Edouard brings rain that causes power outages, isolated flooding and road closures, but no serious damage. Pat Hernandez says officials here breathe a sign of relief.

The fast moving storm was headed toward Houston as late as Monday night. It changed to a more northerly course and hit the Texas-Louisiana border with winds up to 67 mph.

Harris County Judge Ed Emmett says in this storm, the weather service was consistent all along.
“It’s coming, it’s coming, it’s coming…whoops, it didn’t come. It went a little bit to the east. The next one could, you know, do just the opposite.”

Mark Sloan is Harris County Emergency Management Coordinator. He says with no control of the weather, they have train, practice and partner… prepared to respond to a real time event.

“We’ve been preparing all weekend long for this storm to come ashore. We always plan one category higher than what is actually being projected and what the storm is actually doing in the Gulf of Mexico. That’s something that we do statewide. It’s just something that anybody should plan for the worst and hope for the best.”

Close to seventy-different agencies support Harris County’s office of Emergency Management. Sloan says that number grows based on the magnitude of the event.

It’s the partnerships that we have. It’s the preparation and the practices we do, not only during hurricane season, but in the off-season, and all we do is go from a day to day operation into preparation for a storm of this nature. So, our partners are notified, they support us here at TranStar and our EOC, and we initiate the plans to put the resources — both the local and state resources in position — and then be prepared to do the search and rescue and recovery process after the event.”

Judge Emmett calls the encounter with Edouard a real live training exercise.

“It is, and for example, the state staged all their teams and task forces down here, and those will still be used. They just won’t be used in the part of Harris County or Galveston County where they were anticipated.”

He says it tells everybody to be prepared and to take the steps necessary.

“And, the individual residents need to be prepared. Make a plan, get a kit, get yourself organized, because we live in a hurricane zone.”

Pat Hernandez, KUHF…Houston Public Radio News.