Major preparations underway along upper Texas Coast ahead of Hurricane Laura

Matt Pierce

Preparations began on Tuesday for us expected to be the landfall of a major hurricane somewhere between San Luis Pass in Texas and the middle coast of Louisiana Wednesday night into Thursday. 

Brazoria County Judge Matt Sebesta has issued a Voluntary Evacuation for low-lying coastal communities outside the protection levee. Places like Surfside Beach, were among the first places to be given the warning. 

Officials there also ordered area braches to be closed starting at 12:00 PM, August 25, 2020, County Beaches will be closed to vehicular traffic due to impending storm surge from Hurricane Laura.

In nearby Galveston County, County Judge Mark Henry said that based on the latest National Weather Service info, his office issued a mandatory evacuation for Bolivar Peninsula.  “The reason for that is they are now forecasting between 5 and 8 feet of water to be over Bolivar at some points in time,” Judge Henry said. 

The primary reason for calling for an evacuation of the peninsula is due to the exit route across the ferry that connects the Bolivar Peninsula to Galveston Island is expected to become unusable. 

“The criteria are going to be met for the suspension of the ferry service,” Judge Henry said. “So, there will be not just the potential, but the likelihood that you will not be able to move around the Bolivar Peninsula for we don’t know how long.”

Galveston County officials also issued voluntary evacuations for unincorporated areas of Galveston county as storm surge expectations are becoming even more concerning. 

As far as getting resources to assist with evacuations, Judge Henry says that the state has given him the resources that he needs to relocate his residents to safety. 

““The state has positioned 50 buses here. We’re able to get 20 people on a bus with social distancing. That’s a capacity of 1000 people we can evacuate,” Judge Henry said. “Those buses are here. They’re in Texas City. They’re ready to roll.”

In neighboring Chambers County, Judge Jimmy Sylvia issued a Mandatory Evacuation Order for at risk areas of that county. Residents who reside in low lying and flood prone areas or who live in trailer/manufactured homes are required to move to a safer location.

To help with evacuation efforts officials in Fort Bend and Harris County suspended tolls along area toll routes on Tuesday. 

At 4 p.m. on Wednesday, Houston METRO will suspend operations of all transit services in advance of the impacts to the region from Hurricane Laura. Houston Metro is the region’s mobility service that serves Houston and Harris County. 

As of 4:00 pm local time on Tuesday, Hurricane Laura had 80 mph winds and is on track to make landfall Wednesday night to Thursday morning on the Texas/Louisiana border as a major hurricane (Cat 3) with winds over 111 mph.

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