While the latest models show few if any impacts in Texas from one approaching tropical storm, state authorities are maintaining preparations for another approaching storm that meteorologists say could become a full-fledged hurricane and pose a larger effect on parts of the state.
Gov. Greg Abbott held a press conference Sunday, Aug. 23, at the Alternate State Operations Center in Austin where he provided an update on the state’s response to what are now Tropical Storm Marco and Tropical Storm Laura.
Abbott issued a state disaster declaration and has requested an emergency declaration from President Donald Trump and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).
Counties included in the state disaster declaration are Bexar, Aransas, Brazoria, Calhoun, Cameron, Chambers, Galveston, Hardin, Harris, Jackson, Jasper, Jefferson, Kenedy, Kleberg, Liberty, Matagorda, Newton, Nueces, Orange, Refugio, San Patricio, Victoria and Willacy.
The Alamo Regional Command Center has been activated in San Antonio to support staging of resources that have been rostered by the state of Texas.
Additionally, more than 70 members with the Texas Army, Air National Guards, and Texas State Guard with the Texas Military Department (TMD) have been activated and are prepositioning throughout the state.
Currently, UH-60 Blackhawks and UH-72 Lakota air crews have been alerted at Austin-Bergstrom International Airport and in San Antonio to assist with any emergency search and rescue or emergency evacuations.
“As (Tropical Storm) Marco and Tropical Storm Laura approach Texas, the state is taking necessary precautions to protect our communities and keep Texans safe,” Abbott said at the press briefing Sunday.
“I urge Texans in the path of these storms to plan ahead and heed the guidance of their local officials. The state of Texas is working with local and federal partners to monitor these storms and provide the resources our communities need to respond.”
An advisory issued by the National Hurricane Center (NHC) on 1 p.m. Central Time Monday, Aug 24, showed that Marco was weakening in the north central Gulf of Mexico and was expected to turn to the west-northwest by Tuesday. All tropical storm warnings have been discontinued.
This motion, the NHC stated, was forecast to continue until the system dissipates in a couple of days.
However, Tropical Storm Laura, currently centered along Cuba’s southern coastline, is forecast to become a hurricane on Tuesday, with more strengthening expected on Wednesday as the system enters the Gulf and draws closer to the U.S. mainland.
Several models show Laura tracking toward the Texas/Louisiana border. According to the NHC’s Monday afternoon advisory, Laura is forecast to produce 4 to 8 inches of rain Wednesday afternoon into Friday, with isolated maximum amounts of 12 inches across parts of the west-central U.S. Gulf Coast near the Texas and Louisiana border north into portions of the lower Mississippi Valley.
A hurricane watch was issued late Monday afternoon for parts of the Texas and Louisiana coasts.
Texas Division of Emergency Management has rostered the following resources in preparation to support request from local officials:
- Texas A&M Forest Service: Saw Crews and Incident Management Teams
- Texas A&M Engineering and Extension Service: Texas A&M Task Force One and Two Search and Rescue Teams
- Texas Parks and Wildlife Department: Boat Teams to support Water Rescue Operations
- Texas Military Department: Helicopters, sheltering teams, disinfecting teams, mobile testing teams, and High Profile Vehicle packages
- Texas Department of State Health Services: Emergency Medical Task Force severe weather packages and Ambulance Strike Teams
- Texas Department of Transportation: High Profile Vehicles
- Texas Department of Public Safety – Texas Highway Patrol: Search and Rescue Aircraft with hoist capability and the Tactical Marine Unit
The Texas Health and Human Services Commission and the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality are also helping in response efforts.
Texans are urged to follow these flood preparedness and safety tips during severe weather events:
- Know types of flood risk in your area. Visit FEMA’s Flood Map Service Center for information here: https://msc.fema.gov/portal/home
- Sign up for your community’s warning system. The Emergency Alert System (EAS) and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Weather Radio also provide emergency alerts.
- Build an emergency supply kit. For more information on how to build a kit, visit: https://www.ready.gov/kit
- Keep important documents in a waterproof container. Create password-protected digital copies.
- Protect your property. Move valuables to higher levels. Declutter drains and gutters. Install check valves. Consider a sump pump with a battery.
- Be extremely cautious of any water on roads or in creeks, streams, storm drains, or other areas – never attempt to cross-flowing streams or drive across flooded roadways and always observe road barricades placed for your protection. Remember, Turn Around Don’t Drown.