GALVESTON COUNTY – As the wind begins to pick up across the island and another disturbance brews in the Gulf, Galveston County and city leaders are already preparing.
Galveston County Judge Mark Henry said although the storm won’t be as powerful as others, there is a chance of coastal and freshwater flooding across the low lying areas and the usual trouble spots especially because the tidal activity is one-foot higher than normal due to Hurricane Sally and this storm.
During a news conference Saturday, Henry issued a disaster declaration for the county in preparation for what could be “significant damage” and a voluntary evacuation for the Bolivar Peninsula.
“The peninsula has a chance of being cut off from the rest of the county,” Henry said. “The ferry service could be impacted. The forecast that I see will have the criteria met to suspend ferry service, and we fully anticipate water coming over the top of 87.”
Henry said the major concern for the county is not a threat to life, but flooding as there will be a surge with no chance for it to recede. According to Henry, people who feel comfortable being without power for a few days are in the clear to stay home.
“If you can survive in your home for three or four days without power ... which, we’re not even sure if that’s going to happen, you’re OK,” Henry said. “If it’s uncomfortable or you need some life support equipment maybe go somewhere else."
Henry said he does not anticipate a mandatory evacuation based on his latest briefing. Henry said to be prepared even if there is no mandatory order.
“You should already have a kit and you should already have a plan,” Henry said. “We hope you don’t have to execute it, but be prepared in case you do.”
Watch the full update below:
Galveston County Judge Mark Henry gives update on Tropical Storm Beta.Posted by KPRC2 / Click2Houston on Saturday, September 19, 2020
City of Galveston
Just prior to the county’s announcement, Galveston’s Mayor Pro Tem Craig Brown issued a voluntary evacuation for the West End that goes into effect at 10 a.m. Saturday.
“Residents who live in low-lying areas of Galveston that regularly experience flooding during storms may also consider moving to higher areas, particularly if residents have medical conditions with a higher likelihood of requiring emergency services,” a news release read. “The City of Galveston makes every attempt to provide emergency assistance during storms, but impassable roads may inhibit our ability to provide service.”
Officials also advised city residents to “properly dispose of any items in their yard that could blow or float into drains, such as tree limbs or yard brush” in order to minimize street flooding.
What resident are saying
Residents and visitors say they plan to keep a close eye on the forecast.
“That’s the main thing, if I’m told evacuate, then I will," said local resident Betti Carsey. "Otherwise I’m here. I’ve heard that it floods a lot in the streets of Galveston for regular hard storms.”
“We’re just taking advantage of this little breeze right here before we go which way we’re going before it even comes any which way,” said Kyma Douse, who was visiting from New Orleans.