METRO continues to move toward restoring full service to its customers. The Authority has determined it will be able to open most HOV/HOT Lanes Tuesday, Sept. 5. The one exception will be I-45 North, where crews are still evaluating the safety of that route. All METRO buses and other vehicles which normally travel this route will be detoured.

All Park & Ride facilities will also be operational Tuesday.

METRORail Red Line is fully operational. The Green Line is operating between Magnolia Park Transit Center and Eado/Stadium stations. The Purple Line is operating between Palm Center and Eado/Stadium.

About 70 local bus routes are currently in service. For a list of those routes, please visit www.ridemetro.org.

METROLift has resumed regular service. Trips should be scheduled one day in advance in the normal manner: Online or by calling 713-225-6716 or 713-225-0410. 

KOUNTZE, Texas, September 3, 2017– As our neighbors throughout Southeast Texas continue to cope with the impacts of Hurricane Harvey, we would like to provide an update on the status of Big Thicket National Preserve. Since Wednesday, August 30th, preserve staff have been working to account for employees, stabilize structures, and survey the conditions of all facilities. Widespread and persistent flooding has hampered work in many of the preserve’s southern units, especially in the Beaumont Unit and the Pine Island Bayou Corridor Unit.

On Saturday, September 2nd, Big Thicket National Preserve staff was joined by an eleven-person Intermountain Region Incident Management Team, a group of Department of the Interior and National Park Service employees from across the country, here to assist in damage assessment and incident response. With their assistance park staff is working to survey all park trails and day-use-areas.  If you come across a "Trail Closed" sign, please do not enter the trail. Many bridges, boardwalks, and trail surfaces have been significantly impacted by the storm.

On Tuesday, September 5th, at 9 am, the preserve visitor center will reopen to the public. We will begin distributing Hunting Permits for the 2017-18 hunting season at that time. All hunters desiring a permit to hunt in the preserve are reminded that they must come to the visitor center in-person with their valid Texas State hunting license.

At this time, visitors should consider all access points and day-use areas managed by the preserve along the Neches River to be closed. Floodwaters have carried in debris, compromised banks, and created unsafe conditions along all creeks, rivers,  and waterways throughout the region. Due to high flood waters, increased flow, and strong currents we discourage visitors from attempting to paddle or motorboat any waterway in the preserve.

For general information about Big Thicket National Preserve, visit www.nps.gov/bith or call the preserve visitor center at 409-951-6700. Visit us on Facebook www.facebook.com/BigThicketNPS, Twitter www.twitter.com/BigThicketNPS, and Instagram www.instagram.com/BigThicketNPS.

City of San Antonio is moving in to the Kingwood Area tonight and will begin staging their solid waste equipment at the Kingwood METRO Park and Ride. The City of San Antonio crews will begin work at 7 a.m. in Fosters Mill on Monday, September 4, 2017.

There is another convoy of Solid Waste Management vehicles that will also be sent to the Kings Point (The Landing/The Cove to start) also at 7 a.m. on Monday, September 4, 2017. We also have a crew of City of Houston Solid Waste Trucks that is working in the Barrington that once completed will move in to the Kings Point area.

What we need is people to move vehicles, trailers, and debris completely off the roadways. If cars are not movable they need to be as close to the curb as possible if not on top of the curb. Keep in mind any trash that is blocked by a vehicle will not be picked up. These crews need complete clearance to pick up all debris on the streets.

Residents please remove all parked vehicles from the streets before crews get to work. Please remove all parked vehicles from the streets so that crews can get in and out quickly. Crews are expected to work between 7 a.m. – 7 p.m. Debris should be placed close to the side of the road, away from mailboxes, trees, meters, fire hydrants, and other structures.

If cars are not moveable please do your best to have them as close to the curb as possible in not on top of the curb. Make sure that cars are not blocking access to debris piles. If roadways are not clear resources will be diverted from Fosters Mill/Kings Point to other locations. We are working off of a priority list based on damage and will move through it as quickly as we can but need assistance from communities to clear their roadways to make way for these resources.

Online tools are available to help people get their legal affairs in order and to better address legal matters in the aftermath of the storm.

 

Jackson, MS, September 2, 2017 – Hurricane Harvey has caused catastrophic flooding, property damage and at least 40 deaths in Texas.  As victims face challenges in the days ahead, chief among them will be dealing with legal issues. With this in mind, USLegal.com is making its LegalLife Resource Center available as a public service.

The resource center contains information on numerous legal topics including frequent legal questions and answers related to Hurricane Harvey, a free self-help legal checkup, an online guide on how to organize your legal life, and information on how to replace important legal documents that may have been lost or destroyed by the storm.

“Our thoughts are with the victims of Hurricane Harvey. Storms and other disasters too often catch people unprepared. In thinking about how we can better serve the public, we have created these free legal planning tools. We are making this information available to everyone in order to bring awareness to the importance of legal planning,” said USLegal CEO Frank D. Edens.

In addition to the LegalLife Resource Center, attorneys with Edens, Criado & Welch will also be helping pro bono to answer general legal questions related to Hurricane Harvey. The virtual law firm will be taking submissions through a link on the LegalLife Resource Center fromSeptember 1 through 10th.

Visit the legal LegalLife Resource Center at https://www.uslegalforms.com/legallife/ for more information.

The federal government continues to support response and recovery efforts underway in the states of Texas and Louisiana.

 

  • Registering online, at www.DisasterAssistance.gov, is the quickest way to register for federal assistance, including FEMA assistance.
  • To date, FEMA received more than 507,000 registrations for assistance. More than 161,000 survivors are approved for $114.7 million in FEMA disaster assistance. Of that amount, $33.6 million is approved for housing assistance i.e. rental assistance, and $81 million is approved for other needs assistance.

o   Other Needs Assistance is a financial needs-based program that includes financial support to replace personal property, transportation, and disaster-related medical and dental needs.

 

  • While the coordinated response continues, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), and other federal, state, local, and tribal partners, are beginning to direct efforts toward recovery, including housing survivors displaced by the disaster through the state-led disaster housing task force.

 

  • HUD is the lead federal coordinating agency for short-term, intermediate and long-term housing needs. Federal partners are working closely with the Texas state-led housing task force, as well as other state, local, tribal and voluntary agencies, to meet the need for quality affordable rental homes. They are also focused on identifying strategies to strengthen the housing market, building inclusive and sustainable communities, and integrating disaster mitigation measures into community design and development, to reduce future damages.

 

 

On Assistance

 

  • Registering online, at www.DisasterAssistance.gov, is the quickest way to register for federal assistance.
  • At registration, survivors receive information about other resources in the area, including additional disaster assistance services from other federal agencies.

 

o   SBA offers low interest, long-term disaster loans to disaster-impacted homeowners, renters, businesses of all sizes, and private non-profit organizations such as charities, churches, and private universities.

 

  • Disaster Survivor Assistance Teams (DSATs) are in the field supporting the needs of disaster survivors in person. DSATs address immediate and emerging needs of disaster survivors including on-site registration, applicant status checks, on-the-spot needs assessments, requests for accommodations for those with disabilities or access or functional needs.
  • On September 1, 2012, a Disaster Recovery Center (DRC) opened in Jackson County, Texas, at Edna High School Football Stadium, Edna, Texas.

 

o   A DRC is a facility or mobile office where survivors may go for information about available disaster assistance programs or ask questions related to their individual situation.

o   DRCs are staffed by representatives from the Governor’s Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness, FEMA, SBA, volunteer agencies, and others providing support to survivors of Hurricane Harvey.

  • DRCs will continue to open in locations identified by the state of Texas to provide information to survivors. Visit the DRC Locator to find locations of open Disaster Recovery Centers in your area.
  • In Texas, the Transitional Sheltering Assistance (TSA) is available for eligible disaster survivors with a continuing need for shelter because they are unable to return to their homes for an extended period. To be eligible for TSA, survivors must first register for federal assistance with FEMA.
  • The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) has received 4,416 disaster loan applications primarily for homes. The SBA has fielded more than 10,600 calls and completed 1,430 property damage inspections. SBA has approved 120 disaster loans for a total of $10.6 million.

 

  • FEMA reminds survivors to continue to update their contact information as they change addresses or telephone numbers. It is common for displaced disaster survivors to move around as they recover from disaster. If your contact information changes, just call the Helpline and let us know. This helps FEMA help you faster.

 

  • To donate or volunteer, contact the voluntary or charitable organization of your choice among the many National Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster (NVOAD) at www.nvoad.org.  
  • FEMA provides information for all survivors, including those with limited English proficiency, or disabilities, including access and functional needs.  

o   Resources for People with Access & Functional Needs

o   Limited English Proficiency Information:

 

Declarations

Texas

  • On September 2, 2017, the major disaster declaration for Texas was amended to authorize a 90 percent Federal cost share for debris removal, including direct Federal assistance (DFA); and a 100 percent Federal cost share for emergency protective measures, including DFA, for 30 days from the start of the incident period, and then a 90 percent Federal cost share thereafter.

 

  • On September 1, 2017, President Trump amended the earlier declaration to add the following counties:

o   Individual Assistance: Polk, Tyler, and Walker

o   Public Assistance: Polk, Tyler, and Walker

 

  • On August 30, 2017, President Trump amended the earlier Hurricane Harvey major disaster declaration to add counties.

o   Individual Assistance: Colorado, Fayette, Hardin, Jasper, Jefferson, Montgomery, Newton, Orange, Sabine, San Jacinto, and Waller

o   Public Assistance: Colorado, Fayette, Hardin, Jasper, Jefferson, Montgomery, Newton, Orange, Sabine, San Jacinto, and Waller

o   Emergency Protective Measures: Dallas, Tarrant, and Travis

 

  • On August 27, 2017, President Trump amended the earlier Hurricane Harvey major disaster declaration to add 12 counties.

o   Individual Assistance: Aransas, Brazoria, Calhoun, Chambers, Fort Bend, Galveston, Harris, Jackson, Liberty, Matagorda, Victoria, and Wharton.

o   Public Assistance: Aransas, Brazoria, Calhoun, Chambers, Fort Bend, Galveston, Harris, Jackson, Liberty, Matagorda, Victoria, and Wharton

o   Emergency Protective Measures: Bexar

 

  • On August 25, 2017, President Trump at the request of Governor Abbott declared a major disaster declaration for the state of Texas as a result of Hurricane Harvey, beginning on August 23, 2017. This declaration makes federal assistance available to affected individuals and households. Federal funding is also available on a cost-sharing basis for state, tribal, and local government and certain private nonprofit organizations for debris removal and emergency protective measures.

o   Individual Assistance: Bee, Goliad, Kleberg, Nueces, Refugio, and San Patricio

o   Public Assistance: Bee, Goliad, Kleberg, Nueces, Refugio, and San Patricio

 

  • Hazard mitigation is available statewide in Texas.


Louisiana

  • On August 31, 2017, President Trump amended the earlier emergency declaration to include the following parishes: Acadia, Allen, Iberia, Natchitoches, Rapides, Sabine, and Vernon.

 

  • On August 28, 2017, President Trump declared an emergency for Beauregard, Calcasieu, Cameron, Jefferson Davis, and Vermillion parishes in the state of Louisiana, at the request of Governor Bel Edwards.

 

  • FEMA is authorized to provide emergency protective measures, including direct federal assistance, to save lives and to protect property and public health and safety or to lessen or avert the threat of a catastrophe in the designated areas under the Public Assistance program at 75 percent federal funding.  Direct Federal Assistance may be included in a state or tribal request when they lack a capability to perform or contract for debris removal, emergency protective measures, emergency communications, or emergency public transportation.

 

Road to Recovery

 

  • If you have damage to your home, contact your insurance company as soon as possible to file a claim.

 

  • To file a flood insurance claim under the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), contact your insurance agent immediately. NFIP is authorizing advance payments of NFIP claims to expedite recovery.
  • You can also call 1-800-621-FEMA (3362) – select option 2 – to learn more about your policy, and be directed to the appropriate claims resource.

o   As of September 2, 2017, over 67,000 claims have been submitted in Texas.

o   $2.9 million in advance payments has been issued to insured survivors.

 

  • If you have NFIP flood insurance and suffered flood damage related to Hurricane Harvey, you may be eligible to receive up to $5,000 for building and contents damages prior to the adjuster’s inspection with an advance payment request agreement signed by you. 

o   If you have photos and receipts which validate your out-of-pocket expense, you may receive an advance payment up to $10,000.

o   If the flood insurance adjuster has inspected your loss, you have significant damage, and a copy of your contractor’s estimate, you may receive a larger advance payment based on the estimated covered loss.

 

  • In Texas, expedited rental assistance is approved in Texas for eligible disaster survivors. FEMA is using coastal depth and riverine flooding data to identify damaged homes, so survivors can get funds quickly and begin making decisions regarding their temporary housing solutions.
  • In Texas, Disaster Unemployment Assistance benefits are available to those whose jobs were directly affected by Hurricane Harvey. This may include people not normally eligible for unemployment benefits, such as self-employed persons and farm-workers.

 

  • For those experiencing emotional distress, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMSA) activated its Disaster Distress helpline. This toll-free, multilingual, crisis support service is available 24/7 via telephone (1-800-985-5990) and SMS (text ‘TalkWithUs’ to 66746).

 

  • Family and friends of those in the affected areas are urged to check social network sites like Facebook or Twitter for information about your loved ones, or use the American Red Cross’s Safe and Well program, to let family members know they are safe, or looking for loved ones.

 

On Children

  • The U.S. Department of Education has activated its emergency response contact center in response to the devastating impacts of Hurricane Harvey.  The Department’s K-12 and Higher Education stakeholders who are seeking informational resources should contact the Department toll free at 1-844-348-4082or by email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

 

  • To help children recover or cope with the situation, consider these tips:

o   Limit TV Time: Intense media coverage of disasters can frighten young children and disturb teenagers as well.

 

o   Keep To A Routine: Help your children feel as if they still have a sense of structure, which can make them feel more at ease or provide a sense of familiarity. When schools and child care open again, help them to return to normal activities including going back to class, sports and play groups.