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Posted on: February 12, 2021

West University Place Winter Storm Update

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UPDATE: February 25th at 12:30PM - 

The City of West University Place Public Works Department will be waiving permit fees for contractors who are repairing damages to plumbing sustained from the winter storm. Please note contractors will still be required to obtain a permit and inspections. For more information please contact the Permits Division at, 713-662-5833.

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UPDATE: February 22nd at 12:35PM -

FEMA has announced that federal emergency aid is available to individuals and businesses who sustained losses during the severe winter storm last week. Assistance can include grants for temporary housing and home repairs, low-cost loans to cover uninsured property losses and other programs to help recover from the effects of the disaster. Register online at www.DisasterAssistance.gov or by calling 1-800-621-3362 or 1-800-462-7585 TTY.

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UPDATE: February 21st at 12:40PM - 

In effort to help residents in our community who are without water, shower facilities at the Recreation Center, 4210 Bellaire Blvd., will remain available during operational hours through Sunday, February 28th. Due to COVID-19 and social distancing requirements, residents are to call 713-662-7420 to make a reservation. Due to limited shower facilities, residents without a reservation will not be permitted to use the facilities. The Recreation Center will be open Monday - Friday from 6AM - 7PM and Saturday and Sunday from 7AM - 7PM for this service.

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UPDATE: February 19th at 12:15PM - 
West U is not under a boil water notice. The City is operating on 100% well water and is at normal operation pressure.

City Services Update:

  • City facilities are open and operational to the public. Some Parks & Recreation activities may be still be unavailable, please check the West U Parks & Recreation webpage for details.
  • Trash, recycling and yard waste is being collected today as normally scheduled for Friday's route. Normal curbside collection for all routes will resume next week.
  • Shower facilities at the Recreation Center, 4210 Bellaire Blvd., are open during operational hours for residents without water. Due to COVID-19 and social distancing requirements, residents are to call 713-662-7420 to make a reservation. Due to limited shower facilities, residents without a reservation will not be permitted to use the facilities. The Recreation Center will be open Friday from 6AM - 7PM and Saturday and Sunday from 7AM - 7PM for this service.
  • Residents who experienced water line ruptures resulting in significant water loss, please email billinghelp@westutx.gov regarding waiver of related water usage fees.

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UPDATE: February 18th at 4:15PM -
In effort to help residents in our community who are without water, the City of West University Place will open shower facilities at the Recreation Center, 4210 Bellaire Blvd., during operational hours. Due to COVID-19 and social distancing requirements, residents are to call 713-662-7420 to make a reservation. Due to limited shower facilities, residents without a reservation will not be permitted to use the facilities. The Recreation Center will be open Friday from 6AM - 7PM and Saturday and Sunday from 7AM - 7PM for this service.

Earlier today we announced that The City’s water distribution system is operating normally and residents with water can resume normal water usage today. 

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UPDATE: February 18th at 12:30PM -
 While we are expecting another cold night, we are almost in the clear. We understand these are trying times and appreciate your patience as we’ve gotten through this together.

City Services Update:

  • City facilities will be back open and operational to the public on Friday, February 19th. Some Parks & Recreation activities may be still be unavailable, please check the West U Parks & Recreation webpage for details.
  • Trash, recycling and yard waste will be collected on Friday, February 19th as normally scheduled for Friday's route.  Normal curbside collection for all routes will resume next week.
  • At this time a majority of West U residents have power. The City is planning to close the warming center at the Recreation Center, 4210 Bellaire Blvd, at 7PM this evening. Please call the Recreation Center, 713-662-7420, before you and your family plan on arriving to ensure there is space available. 
  • The City’s water distribution system is operating normally, residents can resume normal water usage as of today.

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UPDATE: February 17th at 5:30PM - 
City Services Update:

  • City facilities will remain closed to the public Thursday, February 18th due to staff assisting with response efforts. 
  • Trash, Recycling and Yard Waste collection will resume on Thursday, February 18th.  
  • The Recreation Center, 4210 Bellaire Blvd, remains open to residents as a warming center. Please call the Recreation Center, 713-662-7420, before you and your family plan on arriving to ensure there is space available. 
  • Please remember 9-1-1 is for emergencies only. The City of West University Place has opened a phone bank for residents to report non-emergencies, 713-668-4441.
  • West U strongly encourages residents to conserve water usage to only what is absolutely necessary for health and safety. If water usage is not reduced, West U may have to issue a Boil Water Notice in the near future to ensure the safety of all residents.
    •   Locate your shut off valve on the side of your house and turn it clockwise until it stops.


      Image result for water shutoff valve on house

    • If you are unable to stop the water leak on your own, please contact the City of West University Place phone bank at 713-668-4441 and City crews can assist as available. 

We appreciate your patience and understanding as we get through this weather event together. Stay safe and warm.

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UPDATE: February 17th at 3:00PM -
Mayor Bob Higley has signed a Declaration of Local Disaster for the City of West University Place in response to the severe weather. Disaster declarations assist with emergency service reimbursements for funds expensed during a disaster and recovery.

Click here to view the Declaration of Local Disaster. 

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UPDATE: February 17th at 12:10PM - 

Please remember that 9-1-1 is for emergencies only. If you need to report a water leak, West U has set up a phone bank for residents to call. Please call 713-668-4441 to report water leak issues. 

For information on power restoration, please call CenterPoint Energy at 713-207-2222. 

Our dispatchers are working hard to answer phones calls and dispatch emergencies. We appreciate your patience and understanding as we get through this weather event together.  

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UPDATE: February 17th at 10:30AM - 
Due to limited staffing, city facilities will remain closed to the public on Wednesday, February 17th

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UPDATE: February 16th at 9:15PM - 

City Services Update:
o   City facilities are scheduled to reopen at 9AM on Wednesday, February 17th. Depending on weather conditions in the morning, the start time may be delayed further. 
o   Trash, Recycling and Yard Waste will resume normal collection on Thursday, February 18th.
o   Parks & Senior Services Programming is cancelled for Wednesday, February 17th. 
o   Warming Center for residents at the Recreation Center, 4210 Bellaire Blvd, will remain open until power is restored or temperature rise to acceptable levels. Prior to leaving home, please contact staff at the Warming Center at 713-662-7420 to check space availability.

Utilities Update – Water System: 
o   City staff have received numerous inquiries about the status of the City’s water distribution system due to experiencing  less water pressure than normal or the possibility of the system being shut down. The City’s water distribution system is still operational, the water is safe to drink and is not currently at risk of shutting down. 
o   Due to the abundance of ruptured water pipes within the City, Public Works staff has regulated the system water pressure to a lower level than normal while still maintaining requirements for a safe drinking water supply.  Once the ruptures have been isolated, the water distribution system will resume normal operation and water pressure.  
o   If you are experiencing a loss of water service or extremely low pressure (not lower than normal pressure), please contact the afterhours non-emergency line at 713-668-0330.

 
Stay warm and safe, we appreciate your patience and understanding as we get through this weather event together.
 

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UPDATE: February 16th at 4:15PM - 

Leaking Water Pipes Due to Freeze?

  •         Locate your shut off valve on the side of your house and turn it clockwise until it stops.


    Image result for water shutoff valve on house


  • If you are unable to stop the water leak on your own, please contact the City of West University Place Police Dispatch Center non-emergency number at 713-668-0330 and City crews can assist as available. 

 The City of West University Place water distribution system is currently operating normally with adequate pressure and the City has no plans to shut the water distribution system down.


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UPDATE: February 16th at 12:10PM -

Weather Forecast

  • Current forecast keeps our temps below freezing for much of the day, but we expect additional ice melt during the afternoon which will refreeze later today.
  • Expect temperatures to rise above freezing around midnight tonight accompanied by moderate rainfall.
  • National Weather Service – Houston Region https://www.weather.gov/hgx/

Electrical Power:

  • Many parts of the City remain without power, but we have reports that some areas have had their power restored.  
  • Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) is expected to issue a press release today regarding the restoration of power.  Once that is release we will push that out to residents.

Status of Our City Provided Services:

Utilities (Water & Sewer)

  1. Water Service
    • Pressure remains normal, but we request residents to still conserve water when possible.
  2. Sewer Service
    • Sewer system remains normal, but do to power outages staff is having to operate the lift station with backup power to clear the lines.
    • We ask residents to avoid / reduce the use of the sewer (laundry, dishwashers, showers, etc.) to assist staff in helping clear sewer mains.
  3. Service Interruptions
    • If you are experience an issue with your water or sewer service, please contact the Non-Emergency line at 713-668-0330.
    • We have received some reports of low or no water pressure which were caused by frozen pipes in the home.  Residents will need to contact a licensed plumber to repair those issues.

Warming Center

  • The West U Recreation Center was opened last night at a temporary warming center for residents. The Center will remain open until power is restored or temperatures rise to acceptable levels.
  • Prior to leaving home, please call the Center at 713-662-7420 to check space availability.
  • The center has basic amenities, power, heat and water.

City Services

  • Police and Fire services remain operating at normal levels.
  • Trash, Recycling and Yard Waste collection are expected to resume on Thursday.  Recycling and yard waste from Monday and Tuesday routes will be collected next week.
  • All facilities are closed to the public today, with the exception of the Recreation Center (warming center) and Police Dept. lobby.
  • All of City services remained closed today.  
  • Wednesday services – notification on services will be issued after 2 PM today.

We understand that these are trying times with no power and all-time freezing temperatures, but we appreciate the patience and understanding exhibited by our residents.   Our goal at the City is to provide efficient and effective services in a manner that is safe not only for our residents but our employees as well.  To the extent possible, we are working to get updates from the CenterPoint Energy and ERCOT and will pass those along once we have them. Until then, please stay safe.

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UPDATE: February 15th at 8:00PM - 
CenterPoint Energy has indicated that the current power outage may continue through the night amidst the record cold temperatures. In response, the City of West University Place has opened the Recreation Center, 4210 Bellaire Blvd, as a warming center for residents. This center is not an overnight shelter and will have limited capacity and amenities. Residents are welcome to come into the facility to charge their devices and warm up for a few hours at a time. Please call the Recreation Center, 713-662-7420, before you and your family plan on arriving to ensure there is space available. 

Reminder - Please exercise caution when traveling to and from the center and remember to treat intersections with traffic signals out as a four-way stop. 

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UPDATE: February 15th at 4:45PM - 
Due to continued hazardous weather conditions, City facilities will remain closed through Tuesday, February 16th. There will be no trash, recycling or yard waste collection. Pending City services resume to normal operations on Wednesday, trash, recycling and yard waste for Tuesday’s route will be collected on Wednesday, February 17th. Trash missed due to Monday’s closure will be collected on Thursday per normal collection. Unfortunately, there will not be an alternate collection date for recycling and yard waste that was not collected Monday, so please hold until your next regularly scheduled collection date, Monday, February 22nd. 

More information on cold weather safety, preparation and weather updates can be found at www.weather.gov. City updates will be provided at www.westutx.gov.

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UPDATE: February 15th at 10:15AM - 
Power Outages: The City of West University Place has received several phone calls from residents who are without power. At this time, CenterPoint Energy is working to restore power across the Houston area. To report a power outage, please contact CenterPoint Energy at 713-207-2222 or continue checking the CenterPoint Power Outage Tracker for updates. 

Residents should take the following precautions to stay warm during a black out:
  • Close blinds and curtains to your windows.
  • Close bedroom doors to avoid wasting heat.
  • Wear layers of loose-fitting, lightweight warm clothing.
  • Eat and drink food and liquids.
  • Stuff towels or rags around cracks of doors and windows. 

Frozen Water Pipes: The City has received several phone calls about frozen water pipes with no running water inside the home. At this time, the City's water distribution system is operating normally and maintaining adequate pressure. It is likely that your pipes have frozen and will likely remain frozen until the temperatures rise above freezing.

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Due to expected hazardous weather conditions, City offices and the Recreation Center will be closed on Monday, February 15th. There will be no trash, recycling or yard waste collection. Please hold your trash until your next regularly scheduled day (Thursday, February 18). More information on cold weather safety, preparation and weather updates can be found at www.weather.gov. City updates will be provided at www.westutx.gov.

The National Weather Service is predicting south east Texas will be entering a prolonged period of cold weather starting this weekend and continuing into next week. The City encourages residents to begin preparations to protect the “Four P’s”: people, pets, pipes, and plants.

People:

• Keep warm, stay inside if possible.

• If you need to go out, dress in layers and wear hats, gloves and an appropriate coat.

• Avoid overexertion, as cold weather puts added strain on your body.

 

 Pets:

• Bring pets inside, and move other animals or livestock to sheltered areas.

• Keep adequate food and water available.

 

Pipes:

Shut off and drain your irrigation system now.  Not sure how to shut off your irrigation system? Click here to view a video or click here to view a PDF.  

• Disconnect outdoor hoses, drain and store in protected area.

• Wrap exposed faucets and pipes - including those outside the house or in unheated crawl spaces, attics, garages and other areas.

 

Plants:

• Bring potted plants inside or store in garage near interior wall to provide extra warmth and protection from wind.

• For cold-sensitive outdoor plants, put down extra mulch and consider covering with a cloth fabric of some kind to shield the plants from wind and frost. 


Heater Safety:

Portable space heaters are often used to heat rooms and homes. If not used properly, they can cause fires, severe injuries, and death. If using a portable heater, remember these important safety tips:

• Keep heaters at least 3 feet from anything that can burn, including furniture, carpets, curtains, and people.

• Place heaters on solid, non-flammable surfaces.

• Never block exits with a heater and keep them out of the way of foot traffic.

• Keep children away from heaters.

• Always plug heaters directly into wall outlets - NEVER use an extension cord.

• Turn off and unplug space heaters when leaving a room or going to bed.


 Protect yourself from carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning by installing a battery-operated CO detector and never use generators, grills, camp stoves, or similar devices indoors.

Where you can learn more: 

• Forecasts: National Weather Service Houston-Galveston
• Winter Weather Safety: National Weather Service
• Local Road Conditions: Houston TranStar
• State Road Conditions: DriveTexas.org
• Space Heater Safety: National Fire Protection Association 
 

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