Wednesday, January 25, 2012
Severe weather expected today in Houston area
KRPC: You can see a wall of heavy rain," KPRC Local 2 meteorologist Anthony Yanez. "From 10 o'clock to 2 o'clock is the time to watch for these dangerous storms."
"Do not take these warnings lightly. Typically, whenever we get these and see a pattern like we had this morning, we'll see a handful of tornadoes," Yanez said.
Gusty winds and scattered showers moved through the area at 2 a.m., knocking out power to 30,000 CenterPoint Energy customers. As of 6:30 a.m., approximately 18,000 people remained without electricity.
"Earlier this morning, we had wind gusts of 50 to 55 mph," Yanez said. "That's what knocked down some of those trees and power lines. We could still see some 60 mph straight-line winds, hail and lots of lightning."
A low-pressure system is responsible for strong storms in central and northern Texas, which are expected to drench the Houston area most of the day.
"There's a couple of lines that we're tracking. The strongest one will arrive in Houston around noon. It's a concern for this morning until early afternoon. The radar is picking up a lot of twisting winds," Yanez said. "It's going to be wet from 8 o'clock all the way through 2 o'clock. By 5 p.m., this storm system will be in our eastern counties."
Yanez said south of Interstate 10 is not expected to see the strongest storms.
"It's a lot more scattered and not as well put together," Yanez said.
Power outages caused problems for some southwest Houston businesses.
Whataburger on the Southwest Freeway near Weslayan had to turn away customers when employees could not prepare food for the morning rush.
"Their lights just came back on (at 6 a.m.), but they weren't ready to serve yet," customer Carol Bennett said.
Many Houstonians were worried about flooding after severe weather left its mark on Jan. 9.
Houston firefighters performed about 140 water rescues when people became stranded in high water.
Officials warned drivers to "turn around, not drown" if they approached rising water.
Flooding is the most common hazard in Houston and many times, individuals are not able to judge the depths of water along roadways and find themselves in perilous conditions.
Officials said 6 inches of water can cause tires to lose traction and begin to slide, and 12 inches of water can float many cars. Two feet of rushing water will carry off pickup trucks, SUVs and most other vehicles.
Water across a roadway may hide a missing segment of road or a missing bridge, officials said.
In flash floods, waters rise so rapidly they may be far deeper by the time you are halfway across, trapping you in your vehicle.
Be especially cautious at night, when it's even more difficult to gauge the amount of water in a roadway.
The safest option is to simply avoid driving over water and find an alternate, safer route, or wait until the danger has passed.
Posted by Steve Douglass at 7:22 AM