Hurricane-force winds during the weekend and unprecedented flooding have created significant challenges in southeast Texas during the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey, but communications for public safety and commercial carriers largely have been maintained, according to multiple sources.

Public-safety LMR systems generally have remained operational, despite the difficult operational environment, according to Todd Early, who is coordinating communications efforts from the state operations center in Austin.

“And, with the issues they’ve had, we’ve been able to send in mobile equipment and support to get them back up,” Early said today during an interview with IWCE’s Urgent Communications. “So far, everything’s faring pretty well.”

Motorola Solutions is “working closely” with the city of Houston, Harris County and surrounding counties in Texas and Louisiana in an effort to support first-responder communications, according to company statement provided yesterday.

“The moment [Motorola Solutions] became aware tropical storm Harvey was headed toward Texas, we established dedicated 24x7 customer-support services, which will remain a priority throughout the storm and its aftermath,” according to the statement. “The Texas Wide Area Radio Network (TXWARN) P25 system from Motorola Solutions has been working as designed and providing mission-critical communications to first responders involved in rescue and recovery efforts in Corpus Christi, Galveston, Houston, and other cities and counties impacted by Harvey.

“Motorola Solutions is monitoring radio-antenna sites that may be impacted by high-water levels and preparing backup sites and generators to assist our customers. We are also providing additional emergency equipment including radios, batteries and other items as requested by our customers in the region.” 

From a commercial perspective, 4.7% of all cell sites in the affected region have reported outages during each of the last two days, although some of the outage locations have varied during the two-day period, according to the FCC report generated from statistics in the agency’s Disaster Information Reporting System (DIRS). As of Monday, more than half of the reported cell-site outages were located in counties where citizens had been advised to evacuate last Thursday.

“We’ve had the commercial cellular guys embedded with us, and they’ve done a great job of helping us get things back up and going—it’s been a good partnership,” Early said.