Gov. Perry Issues Disaster Declaration in Anticipation of Tropical Storm Edouard Impact on Texas Communities
Gov. Rick Perry issued a disaster declaration in response to the imminent threat posed by Tropical Storm Edouard to Bexar, Brazoria, Brazos, Calhoun, Chambers, Fort Bend, Galveston, Grimes, Harris, Jackson, Jefferson, Liberty, Matagorda, Montgomery, Orange, Walker and Wharton counties. The governor's declaration allows the state to initiate necessary preparedness efforts, such as pre-deploying resources requested by local officials to ensure their communities are ready to respond to severe weather.
The governor has activated and mobilized state resources, including up to 1,200 National Guard troops, in preparation for Tropical Storm Edouard, which is expected to make landfall on the Texas coastline early Tuesday morning. The state is ready to provide assistance requested by local officials.
"As we demonstrated less than two weeks ago with Hurricane Dolly, the State of Texas is prepared to respond to Tropical Storm Edouard," said Gov. Perry. "I urge Texans along the coast to monitor this storm closely and take necessary precautions to protect their families, homes and businesses."
According to the National Weather Service, Tropical Storm Edouard may strengthen to a Category 1 hurricane before making landfall on the upper coast of Texas, centering on Galveston and Brazoria Counties. A tropical storm warning has been issued from the mouth of the Mississippi River westward to Port O'Connor, Texas, and a hurricane watch has been issued from west of Intracoastal City, Louisiana to Port O'Connor. A tropical storm warning means that tropical storm conditions are expected within the warning area within the next 24 hours, and a hurricane watch indicates that hurricane conditions are possible in the watch area, generally within the next 36 hours.
In anticipation of the storm, Gov. Perry activated up to 1,200 Texas National Guard troops, Texas Task Force 1, the Lone Star Task Force and four incident management teams. If needed, more than 150 buses will be staged in San Antonio and 50 at Darrell Tully Stadium in Houston, in addition to 15 wheelchair accessible vans. Fuel supply trucks and trailers are in the area to ensure adequate fuel supplies, and volunteer organizations are prepared to provide mass care support for residents. All state resources are ready for rapid deployment.
Five C130 aircraft, including one from Delaware, will assist with medical evacuations if needed. Additional Medvac crews are arriving from Delaware, Mississippi and West Virginia.
To date, Texas has taken the following actions:
Texas Military Forces: Up to 1,200 guardsmen have been activated, and 6 UH-60 Blackhawk helicopters and 1 OH 58 Helicopter are on standby for deployment as needed.
Texas Engineering Extension Service: Texas Task Force 1 is pre-staging assets in Houston to ensure all urban search and rescue equipment and personnel are strategically positioned and ready to assist any cities or counties in need of assistance. The task force is comprised of a 70-person heavy rescue team, wide-area flood task force with 8 swiftwater rescue teams, 6 helicopter rescue specialists, and a Tactical Joint Air-Ground Coordination Team. Texas Task Force 2 is on standby in Dallas.
Texas Forest Service: 21 members of Type III Incident Management Teams (IMT) will distribute food, ice and water to impacted communities. The Lone Star State Incident Management Team has been mobilized. Texas Forest Service IMT will coordinate air and plans resources for a possible evacuation of the Houston Medical Center.
Department of Public Safety: Commercial Vehicle Enforcement troopers are en route to San Antonio to inspect staged buses. The Houston and Texas City Disaster District operations centers, headed by local DPS Captains, are now activated.
Texas Department of Criminal Justice: TDCJ's transportation operations have been canceled for Tuesday, impacting the agency's intake operations. As a result, TDCJ intake facilities will not be accepting inmates from the county jails on Tuesday.
Department of State Health Services: DSHS is activating its Multi-Agency Coordination Center in Austin, which provides support to meet the medical and mental health needs of victims, first responders and communities affected by a disaster. DSHS regional personnel also are ready to provide assistance with response efforts in the affected areas.
Health and Human Services Commission: HHSC is taking steps to protect computer equipment and records in offices in the storm's projected path. The state's 2-1-1 network also is available around the clock to provide callers with assistance on shelter locations and other resources.
Department of Aging and Disability Services: DADS is contacting nursing facilities and other licensed residential providers in flood prone counties along the coast and inland. The Richmond, Corpus Christi and Brenham state schools are making preparations to shelter in place.
Public Utility Commission: All utility providers have the ability to receive additional support and manpower from neighboring utilities during large-scale outages. Telecommunications providers have the same support systems available if phone lines need repairs.
Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs: Hurricane housing resources for communities are on the agency's website. TDHCA is reminding all affordable housing rental owners statewide to keep their apartment vacancy information current as they supply information to TDHCA. Information is ready for local communities regarding possible post-disaster housing assistance and will provide any technical assistance necessary to help these communities apply for post-disaster housing funds.
Texas Department of Agriculture: An updated version of the Disaster Resource Information Packet is on the TDA website, providing contact information for local, state and federal assistance as well as general guidance for agriculture producers in time of disaster. TDA staff is also in the process of exporting a load of horses from the Houston Export Pens; once this is completed no animals will be allowed to cross until further notice.
Texas Commission on Environmental Quality: A strike team capable of handling hazardous materials, additional public water supply and wastewater specialists, and a self contained mobile command post trailer with interoperable radio communications and satellite/wireless internet connections is on standby in Austin for pre-deployment. The agency will monitor the impacts to any chemical or petrochemical facilities, dam or levee structures, and water and wastewater facilities in the impacted area.
Texas Workforce Commission: Workforce Solutions board area offices in the Southeast Texas, Gulf Coast, Golden Crescent, and Coastal Bend and workforce centers remain open.
Texas Department of Transportation: Dynamic message signs are being used to alert travelers of the storm and urging residents to fuel up their vehicles. All lane closures have been suspended until further notice in the Houston area.
Texas Animal Health Commission: Field personnel will assist with local needs as requested.
Individuals with special needs can let responders know who and where they are before an emergency or evacuation takes place by calling 2-1-1.
The Emergency Management Council and State Operations Center will be fully activated at 1 pm today. The State Operations Center is closely monitoring Tropical Storm Edouard and holding daily conference calls with federal, state and local officials, private industry partners, volunteer organizations, and the National Weather Service.