Severe weather, tornado, and flooding in many areas of Texas has prompted Gov. Greg Abbott to declare states of emergency in 45 counties, and the City of Houston has begun assessing damage to its fleet vehicles.
Abbott said flooding in the state’s most populous city in on par with 2001's Tropical Storm Allison, Houston Public Media reported. Flooding in Houston has so far killed six people and left many stranded in their vehicles.
The city fleet was also affected, with flood water damaging at least 66 vehicles, said Jedediah Greenfield, public information officer for the city’s Fleet Management Department. These include 16 light-duty vehicles parked downtown that were completely submerged in water, 30 police vehicles, and 20 fire and ambulance vehicles.
He explained that the fleet department is still waiting on a couple of departments to report their damages, including Public Works, one of the biggest departments.
"There was just critical staff operating yesterday, so they were just mainly supporting our first responders," said Greenfield. "Now everyone’s back in today, so we’re slowly starting to get damage reports and starting to get those numbers coming in."
During emergencies, essential employees are called in. Tier 1 employees, who are critical, and Tier 2 employees, who are support employees, came in to support emergency operations yesterday.
Employees were “making sure fuel levels were where they needed to be to assist our first responders and also to address any mechanical issues of first responders," he added. "Also, we did roll out our solid waste trucks yesterday to get the debris picked up to get ahead of that."
A full week of rain last week saturated the ground, so heavy rains on Monday and Tuesday of this week led to bayous overfilling and street flooding, Greenfield said.