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UPDATE: Emmett And Turner Recommend Houston Residents To Stay Indoors On Wednesday

A homeless person died in south Houston due to hypothermia and there were almost 300 car crashes

Both Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner and Harris County Judge Ed Emmett recommended on Tuesday afternoon that residents of greater Houston stay indoors on Wednesday and avoid as much as possible getting on the roadways because they will be icy due to the winter weather that is impacting the region this week.

During a news briefing held at the City’s Emergency Operations Center, Turner noted that, according to the weather forecasts, the Houston area would be under freezing conditions on Tuesday night.

Therefore, the mayor asked Houston residents to avoid driving on Wednesday as much as possible. “The best way to avoid a crash is to stay off the streets,” Turner stressed.

As of Tuesday afternoon, the winter storm hitting the Houston area had caused one fatality.

Houston Fire Department chief Samuel Peña reported that a homeless person was found dead in the south part of the city, near Telephone Road, and added that the cause of death was hypothermia.

Peña also cautioned the public about using fire places, stoves and space heaters because of potential accumulation of carbon monoxide.

The weather also caused many traffic accidents with Houston Police Department chief Art Acevedo reporting more than 270 crashes.

Harris County Judge Ed Emmett held a news briefing a little earlier than Turner and also recommended county residents to stay indoors and avoid getting on the roads on Wednesday. 

“If you are indoors and if you are in a safe place, you probably ought to stay there,” Emmett emphasized speaking from Houston TranStar.

The Texas Department of Transportation had more than 40 crews deployed in greater Houston on Tuesday treating the icy roads and, especially, highway overpasses and bridges.

Harris County Sheriff Ed Gonzalez reported that law enforcement agencies throughout the county had counted approximately 200 traffic accidents.

The winter weather also had an effect on public transportation and Houston METRO suspended its bus service starting at 5:30 p.m., although the light rail network was scheduled to remain operative.

The City of Houston had crews spreading gravel where it was necessary and people were encouraged to report ice or other problems by calling the City’s 3-1-1 hotline.

Several roads were closed due to icy conditions.

The Harris County Toll Road Authority and the Fort Bend Toll Road Authority announced they are waiving tolls until Wednesday at 12:00 p.m.

Mayor Turner emphasized throughout Tuesday that the well being of the homeless population was a priority. 

In that regard, Houston police officers spent Tuesday going to homeless sites to ask the people who live in them to go warming centers or shelters.

The warming center at the Pleasant Grove Missionary Baptist Church, which is managed by the American Red Cross and is located in the 2800th block of Conti Street, will remain open until further notice.

The Red Cross also opened a warming center at the S. Main Baptist Church, and the Salvation Army and Star of Hope had their doors open at their respective shelters as well.

You can listen to a story about the warming centers and shelters reported by Houston Public Media’s Ed Mayberry here: 

As for power outages, an official with CenterPoint Energy said around 5:30 p.m. that approximately 8,000 customers had lost without power.

CenterPoint’s vice president Frank LeBlanc noted customers do not need to report outages to CenterPoint because the meters alert the company when the electricity supply is out.

Regarding travel, the Houston Airport System noted that as of 5:30 p.m. on Tuesday, about 860 flights had been cancelled at Bush Intercontinental Airport, while approximately 120 had been cancelled at Hobby Airport.

Earlier in the week, on Monday afternoon, Harris County Judge Ed Emmett had already warned about likely dangerous driving conditions.

 

 

The Houston Independent School District and other school districts from the greater Houston area announced they would remain closed on Wednesday due to the severe weather conditions, which also caused the closure of several roadways.
 
The cold weather and its effects also made the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) close its Harvey-related Disaster Recovery Centers on Tuesday.
 
The National Weather Service predicted a low of around 20 degrees, or even less, in Houston on Tuesday night, which would be the lowest temperature in the city since January of 2010.
 
To keep up to date on road conditions affected by the freezing temperatures, check out TxDot’s interactive map below:
 
 

Video sent from The Woodlands: 

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