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Governor Abbott issues state disaster declaration for 23 counties, including Orange County

AUSTIN – Governor Greg Abbott today held a press conference at the Alternate State Operations Center in Austin where he provided an update on the state’s response to Hurricane Marco and Tropical Storm Laura, both of which are forecast to impact parts of the Texas Coast and East Texas in the coming days. Prior to the press conference, the Governor received a briefing from the Texas Division of Emergency Management (TDEM), as well as an update on response and preparedness efforts from state agency directors and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).

The Governor also announced that he has issued a state disaster declaration and has requested an Emergency Declaration from President Trump and FEMA for Public Assistance Category B (Emergency Protective Measures), Direct Federal Assistance, and Hazard Mitigation statewide. Counties included in the state disaster declaration are Aransas, Bexar, Brazoria, Calhoun, Cameron, Chambers, Galveston, Hardin, Harris, Jackson, Jasper, Jefferson, Kenedy, Kleberg, Liberty, Matagorda, Newton, Nueces, Orange, Refugio, San Patricio, Victoria, and Willacy.

“As Hurricane Marco and Tropical Storm Laura approach Texas, the state is taking necessary precautions to protect our communities and keep Texans safe,” said Governor Abbott. “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.”

Hurricane Marco is expected to make landfall in Louisiana on Monday before moving towards Texas on Tuesday evening as a depression. This hurricane is expected to bring heavy rain and tropical storm force winds to the Texas Coast and Southeast Texas as it approaches the state. Tropical Storm Laura is forecast to become a Hurricane on Tuesday, and this storm is expected to make landfall anywhere over Southeast Texas or Louisiana early Thursday. Wind, heavy rain, and storm surges are expected on Wednesday as Tropical Storm Laura enters the Gulf.

TDEM 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 assisting in response efforts. 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. TDEM has secured fuel, hygiene, and shelter resources and more.

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.

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.