GALVESTON, Texas - Now that Harvey has redeveloped and is currently a tropical storm, the city of Galveston is in a “state of readiness” in case of a major weather event.
The National Hurricane Center issued a tropical storm and storm surge watch for the island Wednesday.
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Jaree Fortin, a spokesperson for the city of Galveston, said even though the forecast is still uncertain, they’re expecting high tides in the next 72 hours, which could lead to a lot of flooding.
"We don’t want people driving through floodwaters. Here it's salt water, so it's even worse to drive through floodwaters, and it pushes wakes into people's homes and businesses,” Fortin said.
The city has not called for an evacuation at this point, but is asking people to use their best judgment if they live in areas prone to flooding.
"We are stressing for residents that live in low-lying areas that are known for flooding to please be cautious, use your best judgment (and) leave if you need to, but if you can stay just make sure you got all the supplies you need to stay," Fortin said.
The latest computer models, according to the city of Galveston, show the island could get more than 15 inches of rain with this storm system.
Fortin said crews are working to clear debris from drains. She also said they have generators ready, high-water rescue vehicles in place and will continue to monitor the area.
"This road floods pretty easily; once you get the high tide, it will really back up," Hitchcock area homeowner David Foyt said.
He drove in from Houston Wednesday afternoon to beat any traffic.
"I came down here early to beat the rush, pick up my son's dirt bike, pick up some picnic tables (and) just kinda secure the area as best I could," Foyt said.
Beach Patrol began removing lifeguard towers from the beach starting early Thursday morning.
Crews used a bull-dozer to lift the towers and put them on flat bed trucks. The stands were removed to prevent debris from flying should heavy winds from a hurricane or tropical storm hit the island.
The city of Galveston said its trolley service will be suspended Friday through Monday.
The city's Island Transit will continue to run unless streets are impassable. Fortin said Island Transit service will move their 25th Street terminal operations to the Market Street terminal.
Starting at 5 p.m.Thursday through Monday, the city will also prohibit people from blocking sidewalks with their vehicles.
A League City spokesperson, Kelley Williamson, said they are closely monitoring the weather and have high-water rescue vehicles and boats ready to go.
The city is asking people to follow it on social media and to sign up for notifications at www.galvestontx.gov/onecall or call 409-765-3710.
Anyone needing assistance can call 409-797-3701 or go to www.galvestontx.gov/needaride.
Residents, visitors bracing for storm's impact
Although we're days ahead of Harvey's landfall and it's still unclear exactly where the storm will hit, people along the coast aren't taking any chances.
"Just packing up everything that might be in the lower levels, putting everything away that could be blown away," Carlos Sanchez said.
The Sanchez family was renting a home through the weekend at Jamaica Beach, but instead is now changing plans and heading back to Dallas.
"For people that aren't too familiar with the area, and storms like this, for sure it's cause to he concerned," Sanchez said.
Several area restaurants are also getting ready ahead of the storm.
"We're in for the long haul on this thing, but we're not going to jeopardize our safety or employees or guests," Danny Hart said.
Hart, whose company owns several restaurants on Galveston Island, knows all too well the dangers of storms after Ike did hundreds of thousands of dollars in damage in 2008.
Their other concern this go-round is the business' bottom line.
"It's huge for our company. I can't put a dollar figure on it, but it's substantial. And it's not the way you want to end the summer," Hart said.
For now, many are just keeping their fingers crossed that Harvey doesn't pack too hard a punch.
"We're hoping that this thing comes in, gets out and gets us going for next week," Hart said.
"It's Mother Nature. It is what it is, we'll just plan to come back after the storm," Sanchez said.
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