The latest: Jefferson Co. to order mandatory evacuation

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    People fill sandbags at the Pavilion in Port Arthur August 24, 2020. Photo: Kim Brent/The Enterprise

    People fill sandbags at the Pavilion in Port Arthur August 24, 2020. Photo: Kim Brent/The Enterprise

    People fill sandbags at the Pavilion in Port Arthur August 24, 2020. Photo: Kim Brent/The Enterprise

    People fill sandbags at the Pavilion in Port Arthur August 24, 2020. Photo: Kim Brent/The Enterprise

    8:15 p.m.: A mandatory evacuation of all of of Jefferson County will go into effect at 6:30 a.m. Tuesday.

    A briefing with meteorologists expected around 10 p.m. was moved up because of a storm direction change. That change prompted Branick to move forward with the order.

    6:35 p.m.: Pending « critical information » from meteorologists expected to come around 10:30 p.m. Monday, Jefferson County Judge Jeff Branick anticipates entering a mandatory evacuation for all of Jefferson County.

    The order would follow one issued Monday afternoon, which mandates the evacuation of residents in the unincorporated area south of Highway 73 from Taylor Bayou to the Chambers County line, Central Gardens and residents living within 500 yards of Taylor or Hillebrandt bayous.

    « If the information that the mayors and I get at 10:30 is unfavorable to us (in other words indicates that the storm is going to hit us) I will enter a mandatory evacuation order for the entire county tonight to be effective at 6:30 a.m. tomorrow, » he said in an email.

    During a 4:30 p.m. briefing, National Weather Service Lake Charles meteorologist Donald Jones said projections at the time expected Sabine Pass, the Port Arthur levee and parts of Hillebrandt and Taylor bayous to see more than 6 feet of water.

    « It’s what I call the 2020 conundrum, » Branick said. « If it goes 20 mile to the east we should be okay. If it goes 20 miles to the west, we better hold on. »

    6:05 p.m.: Just hours after issuing a disaster declaration, Orange County has issued a mandatory evacuation by 6 a.m. Tuesday.

    Residents who can’t evacuate themselves can recieve help that is launching from Lamar State College, 410 Front St. in Orange, or Vidor Elementary, 400 Old Hwy 90 in Vidor. Individuals who cannot get to one of the transportation sites can call their city or, for the unincorporated areas, county to recieve assistance.

    3:05 p.m.: Orange County has now joined its Southeast Texas neighbors in issuing a disaster declaration in advance of Tropical Storm Laura. City and County officials also are issuing a voluntary evacuation.

    The announcements come as a result of reports from the National Weather Service and Texas State Operations Center that say the storm could potentially cause « widespread injury or loss of life and severe property damage resulting from conditions cause by torrential rainfall, major flooding with high-speed winds and tornadic activity over an excessive period of time … »

    12:30 p.m.: Jasper and Hardin counties now also have issued their own disaster declaration as the Federal Emergency Management Agency and President Donald Trump have granted a federal declaration for public assistance to cover emergency protective measures. Those measures include support for evacuations and shelters, according to a news release from Texas. Gov. Greg Abbott.

    « Texas is grateful to President Trump and our partners at FEMA for quickly granting this Federal Emergency Declaration, » Abbott said in the release. « As Tropical Storms Marco and Laura head towards the coast, the State of Texas is working with local and federal partners to ensure our communities have the resources they need to respond to these storms. »

    12:10 p.m.: All Port Arthur residents will be required to evacuate the city beginning 6 a.m. Tuesday, Mayor Thurman Bill Bartie announced Monday afternoon. Previously, he had only instituted a voluntary evacuation for Sabine Pass residents.

    Bartie said the city has made arrangements to help transport individuals who can’t get themselves out. However, those plans have been made even more challenging as the city has to continue observing social distancing and other coronavirus protocols. He said only 15 people can be in each bus. Area shelters will have protocols in place to observe the same standards.

    “Just go to higher ground, » he said. « Go to San Antonio. Go to Austin. Get away from here.”

    Bartie said he’d be willing to consider backing off the order should the storm take a turn away from Southeast Texas. But at this time, he said this was the best decision he could make for area residents.

    11:20 p.m.: Jefferson County Judge Jeff Branick has recommended anyone with the ability to evacuate in advance of Laura’s arrival to consider doing so at this time. There are no mandatory evacuations at this time.

    10:25 a.m.: Port Arthur has now become the first local city to issue its own disaster declaration.

    Mayor Thurman Bill Bartie signed his Monday morning after determining “that extraordinary measures must be taken to prevent and to alleviate the suffering of people and to protect or rehabilitate property,” according to the declaration.

    Disaster declarations allow government agencies to drop some state requirements when responding to a disaster, such as putting certain contracts out to bid before spending taxpayer dollars or issuing a mandatory evacuation should the need arise. It also makes the area eligible for state or local recovery funding should that become available.

    10 a.m.: The City of Port Arthur has added a third location for sandbags: the Downtown Pavilion, 500 Procter Street; the Bob Bowers Civic Center, 3401 Cultural Center Drive; as well as in El Vista. There is a 5-bag limit

    8 a.m.: The City of Port Arthur will be providing sandbags at 500 Proctor Street and the Civic Center from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday while supplies last. Limit 5 per residence. Bring ID or proof of residency and a shovel.

    7: a.m.: The City of Nederland will provide up to 10 sandbags to each resident beginning at 10 a.m. at Doornbos Park, according to the city’s emergency notification system. Residency will be confirmed through driver’s license or utility bill. Residents should bring a shovel, mask and prepare to social distance.

    6:30 a.m.: « Marco has weakened to a tropical storm. It will be near southeast Louisiana on Monday, and move west across southern Louisiana or the adjacent coastal waters, and continue to weaken.

    Laura still has a large spread for landfall forecasts – anywhere from southeast Texas (Thursday) to southeast Louisiana (Wednesday), potentially as a major hurricane. »


    SOURCE: https://www.w24news.com

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