Texas Gov. Deploys National Guard to Houston Area for Flood Response

June 20, 2006

In response to June 19 flood conditions in the Houston area, Texas Governor Rick Perry deployed national guard crews and other state resources to support local officials. State assets that were activated include:

–50 large Texas Army National Guard trucks with crews,
–Two HH-60 helicopters with flight crews,
–Two CH-47s with flight crews,
3–0 Parks and Wildlife rescue boats,
–One large airboat from the General Land Office (GLO),
–Seven swift water rescue teams from Texas Task Force One (TTF-1),
–One TTF-1 joint air and ground coordination team,
–The 6th Army National Guard civil support team,
–One HazMat strike team from Texas Commission on Environmental Quality and GLO, and
–A satellite communications package system that enables responders to coordinate from wherever they are operating.

“We are closely monitoring the situation and are prepared to provide full support to local officials,” Perry said. “We will do whatever it takes to help keep Texans in the affected region safe.”

The Houston area received about 11 inches of rain overnight by the morning of June 19, endangering motorists and residents in low-lying areas. The governor’s office said state and local officials are closely coordinating and are preparing for additional rainfall; the National Weather Service has predicted up to 10 more inches of rain by June 20.

According to Associated Press reports, the worst problems were in southeast Houston and western Pasadena. The National Weather Service reported that almost 6 inches of rain fell within 75 minutes early Monday near Hobby Airport. The weather service also estimated 5 to 8 inches of rain fell in three hours along Sims Bayou in southeast Houston.

Four homes were reported flooded in a neighborhood along Hunting Bayou, across the Houston Ship Channel from Pasadena, Cornelius said. The Washburn Tunnel beneath the ship channel at Pasadena was flooded an impassable this morning, and parts of Interstate 10, Beltway 8, and Texas Highways 225 and 288 in southern and eastern Harris County flooded.

Underpasses in the area were under water during the peak commute period, and the Houston Fire Department reported about a dozen high-water rescues of motorists in southeastern Houston, between Hobby Airport and Pasadena, Cornelius said.

Parts of Interstate 10, Beltway 8, and Texas Highways 225 and 288 in southern and eastern Harris County flooded, and the Washburn Tunnel beneath the Houston Ship Channel at Pasadena is reported to be flooded and impassable.

Flooding also was forecast along Armand Bayou, between Ellington Field and the Johnson Space Center.

Numerous school districts called off classes Monday because of the rain and flooding.

On the Texas-Louisiana border, up to 6 inches of rain was reported in and around the border city of Orange.

More rain was in the forecast for June 20, but was not expected to be as severe.

According to a report in the Houston Chronicle, insurance claims were also flooding in by Monday night – State Farm and Allstate, two of the state’s largest insurers – both received numerous claims.

Sources: Texas Governor’s Office; Associated Press; Houston Chronicle.

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