Rodeo officials preparing for severe weather

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Rodeo officials preparing for severe weather, Tracy Clemons reports.

Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo officials are keeping a close eye on the threat of severe weather headed straight for Houston.

They're not expecting a worst-case scenario. But they're still going around, making sure storm drains are clear so the grounds don't flood. They're putting sandbags in trashcans, and testing out their long-range audio device in case they have to herd people from outside into the building.

As the wind picks up at NRG Park, Rodeo COO Dan Cheney says they're still taking the threat of severe weather seriously.

"We're taking covers off bike racks so they don't become sails, testing our long-range audio device, reviewing our safety plans and being sure we're ready," Cheney said. "The team going around to monitor water that might pool on a tent roof and getting that drained off."

A flash flood warning has been issued for our entire area starting today. Francisco Sanchez with the Office of Emergency Management says his people are already prepping for a long couple of days.

"Tuesday afternoon we're going to see some high wind, some heavy rainfall, a potential for tornadoes," Sanchez said. "Then Wednesday morning in the drive time heavy rainfall and flash flooding potential."

The storms come right in the teeth of the 2016 Houston Rodeo.

"You wear a poncho. You bring a raincoat. You come prepared," Justin Clark said.

Stephanie Swingle says the rain won't put a damper on one of the hottest shows of the Rodeo.

"We will not miss Pit Bull. He's a blast," she said.

We asked Swingle's group what they plan to do if the skies open up while the rodeo is in full swing

"We go under the tents and continue drinking our wine until the weather stops," Jonathan Click added.

"We duck for cover but we still enjoy ourselves," Swingle explained with a huge smile on her face.

Rodeo officials say it rained for 11 days last year and they still had nearly 2.5 million people come. They expect no different this time around.

"You gotta come out. It's the rodeo. It happens one time a year," Clark added. "Rain or shine, you gotta come."

There is an evacuation plan in place, but officials say common sense would likely win out.

If you're planning on going to the rodeo, keep up with the ABC13 forecast on air and online. To keep track of the weather in your neighborhood, download the free abc13 weather app.
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