Governor Greg Abbott has instructed the Texas Division of Emergency Management (TDEM) to elevate the readiness level of the Texas State Operations Center to Level II (Escalated Response). This proactive measure comes as the state gears up to tackle various weather threats in the upcoming days.
“The Texas government is fully prepared to utilize all its resources in order to ensure the safety and well-being of its citizens and communities as multiple severe weather threats loom over the state starting tomorrow,” expressed Governor Abbott. He further added, “To ensure that swift assistance and resources reach all affected areas, I have instructed the Texas Division of Emergency Management to escalate the readiness level of the State Operation Center. It is important for residents residing in high-risk areas to stay alert, closely monitor weather conditions, and comply with the instructions provided by local authorities and emergency management personnel.”
The National Weather Service predicts that Texas will experience a variety of hazards at the start of the week. Beginning on Monday, the state will face strong winds, blowing snow, critical fire weather conditions, and severe thunderstorms. The Panhandle can expect snowfall and dangerous wind chills, while West/Southwest Texas should be prepared for fire weather conditions. East/Southeast Texas is likely to experience severe thunderstorms with large hail, heavy rainfall, and the threat of flash flooding. Strong winds, with gusts of 60-70 miles per hour in certain areas, may affect the entire state. Texans are advised to stay updated with local weather forecasts.
Governor Abbott has instructed TDEM to request the presence of the following agencies at the Texas State Operations Center. These agencies are expected to have their resources ready for deployment as required.
- Texas Department of Transportation: Pre-treating and treating of roadways; monitoring road conditions
- Texas A&M Engineering Extension Service (Texas A&M Task Force 1): Urban Search & Rescue Teams; Swiftwater Boat Squads
- Texas A&M Forest Service: Firefighting personnel; heavy equipment, including motor graders for snow removal; saw crews and Incident Management Teams
- Texas Department of State Health Services (Texas Emergency Medical Task Force): Winter and Severe Weather Packages
- Texas Commission on Environmental Quality: Air/water/wastewater monitoring
- Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service: Disaster assessment and recovery agents
- Texas Animal Health Commission: Coordinating animal/agricultural resource needs
- Public Utility Commission of Texas: Power outage monitoring and coordinating with utility providers across the threat area
- Railroad Commission of Texas: Monitoring of the state’s natural gas supply and communication with the oil and gas industry
- Texas Department of Public Safety: Texas Highway Patrol Troopers and the Tactical Marine Unit
- Texas Parks & Wildlife Department: Game Wardens and Boat Squads
- Texas National Guard: Personnel and equipment to support response needs
- Texas Department of Information Resources: Monitoring technology infrastructure
- Texas Education Agency: Monitoring school district needs across the state
- Texas Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster (Texas VOAD): Coordinating of volunteer organizations across the state
Last week, the Governor instructed TDEM to prepare state emergency response resources in anticipation of these storm systems.
Texans are being strongly encouraged to create an emergency plan, listen to instructions from local officials and first responders, and have an emergency supply kit readily available. To stay informed about weather safety, individuals can visit TexasReady.gov. Additionally, they can find warming centers at tdem.texas.gov/warm, check road conditions at DriveTexas.org, and access flood tracking information at TexasFlood.org. It is crucial for Texans to take these measures to ensure their safety during emergencies.
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