HOUSTON – Leaders from both Harris County and Houston urged residents in the area Monday to prepare for the landfall of a hurricane while keeping a watchful eye on the forecast.
Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo and Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner both emphasized that meteorologists are still trying to determine where Tropical Storm Laura will hit, but the current forecast has the storm tracking into southwest Louisiana as a Category 2 storm by early Thursday. Both Hidalgo and Turner said that’s just too close for comfort.
“What we need to do is prepare for the worst,” Hidalgo said.
“Be prepared. Be prepared. Be prepared,” Turner said.
Forecasters have said they believe Laura will primarily a wind event, meaning storm surge is possible. Flooding rains are not as likely.
Hidalgo said her decision making will be driven by the old adage – hide from the wind, run from the water. She said people who live in evacuation zones should prepare now as if they are going to have to leave.
Turner said drivers should prepare to see increased traffic on westbound highways as people who are ordered to evacuate head away from the coast. He urged people who don’t need to evacuate to stay off the roads.
Both leaders said senior citizens and people who are medically fragile should call 211 to sign up for the State of Texas Emergency Assistance Registry, which will help them get assistance during an evacuation.
Watch a replay of the news conference below: