Update, 4:50 p.m. Tuesday: The Texas Education Agency has granted waivers to all public school districts whose schools were closed by the overnight thunderstorms. This means they will not have to make up the missed day before the end of the school year. So Houston ISD which had previously announced it would extend classes through this Friday, will return to its original last day of school on this Thursday. *See below for further new information about HISD school openings.
Heavy storms Monday night and early Tuesday morning have closed school districts, shuttered county buildings, and flooded patches of freeway all over the Houston area.
The City of Houston announced this morning that, due to heavy flooding across the city, it had activated its Emergency Response Center to its highest level, Level 1. To put that into context, the last time the city reached Level 1 status was during Hurricane Ike in 2008.
Among the school districts that have closed for the day are HISD, Katy, Spring Branch, Stafford and Fort Bend school districts are all closed for Tuesday.
While everyone loves a day off, HISD students must be a little peeved. Their last day of the year was supposed to be Thursday. Now they have to come in Friday, as well.
*In a statement released by HISD Tuesday afternoon, the district said: "Schools and offices are expected to re-open at their regularly scheduled times on Wednesday, May 27. A few schools have experienced water damage and flooding as a result of the storm. District crews are working diligently to ensure the campuses are cleaned, repaired and ready to open for class on Wednesday. If that changes, parents, students and staff will be notified immediately. As of Tuesday afternoon, Liberty High School was the only campus that was scheduled to be closed Wednesday due to storm damage."
In addition to the City of Houston calling a 2-hour delay for all non-essential city employees, municipal courts canceled their morning dockets. Harris County decided to close its offices for the day—County Judge Ed Emmett tells the Houston Chronicle that county criminal justice center downtown even had its basement flooded.
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And, if you're one of the unlucky ones whose car is underwater, don't count on public transportation to get you around today. METRO has announced that it's suspended all operations for Tuesday. Which is understandable, considering parts of major thoroughfares—like Allen Parkway, Memorial Drive, Loop 610, as well as Katy, North and South freeways—are under water. Houston Community College has canceled classes for the day, while University of Houston campuses should begin to open at noon. On top of all that, there's another headache for people traveling to of from Houston after the long holiday weekend. The local airports are experiencing a number of canceled or delayed flights, according to flight tracking at FlightAware.com.
Be safe out there. And if you spot any flooded streets, downed trees, submerged cars, or any other mayhem, send photos to email@example.com.