3.2 Flash Flood Emergency — Houston

Tuesday, 12 January 2016: 1:45 PM
Room 338/339 ( New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center)
Jeffry S. Evans, NOAA/NWS/WFO, Dickinson, TX; and J. Lindner

After a record May, a slow moving line of thunderstorms moved into Harris County during the evening of May 25th resulting in widespread, historic flooding. Excessive rainfall rates, including 4.7” in one hour, were measured. Despite hundreds of water rescues, the flooding resulted in 8 fatalities and thousands of flooded structures. Throughout the event NWS meteorologists were in constant communication with decision makers, broadcast meteorologists and storm spotters through NWSChat. This ‘integrated warning team' (IWT) concept was crucial in conveying the seriousness of the threat as it unfolded. The decision to issue the office's first ever FFW emergency was discussed with the IWT in the chatroom for nearly an hour prior to its issuance. This open communication allowed decision makers and the media to accurately convey the seriousness of what was about to unfold, particularly considering the threat area encompassed 2-3 million people.

This presentation will provide an overview of the event and the decision making leading up to the FFW Emergency, as well as discuss the importance the IWT played in communicating the significance of what was about to unfold.

- Indicates paper has been withdrawn from meeting
- Indicates an Award Winner