Governor Greg Abbott activated the State Operation Center Friday to prepare for the possibility of mass flooding. Strong storms and heavy rains are expected to hit parts of Texas over the weekend and the state is also in the path of Patricia—the largest hurricane ever recorded.
“We have a very critical situation,” said Nib Kidd, the state’s Chief of Emergency Management. “There are not many places in Texas that are out of danger right now.”
Representatives from dozens of state agencies got to work at the SOC to coordinate response efforts and divide up resources.
Governor Abbott freed up state resources to help local governments that could see flash floods.
Texas deployed emergency response teams to staging areas scattered across the state. Equipped with helicopters, boats and military vehicles, the rapid response teams were in place Friday to help with evacuations or rescues, if necessary.
“If local officials ask you to evacuate, please do so, don’t put yourself in harm’s way,” Kidd said. He asked the media to push the public service announcement, “turn around, don’t drown,” to remind people to never drive down a road that’s underwater.
Kidd said, “With the kind of rain we are getting right now it doesn’t even have to be low water crossing for water to cover the road.”
Many areas area already saturated from another storm system and Kidd said there would be high levels of runoff water.
“If you don’t not have to be out driving around this weekend, don’t do it,” Kidd said. “Pay attention to your local media.”
State officials advised people to get a weather radio so they can stay informed if the power goes out.
“The hurricane plays into the picture next week the rain we are dealing with right now is going to continue to fall,” Kidd said.
The category five hurricane was traveling Friday with wind speeds up to 200 miles an hour and torrential rains. The storm system is expected to slow as it travels across Mexico but the precipitation will likely roll over into Texas.
Some areas of the state could see more than 10 inches of rain when Patricia arrives and the state is already facing 3 to 6 inches in many areas from another system.