3 answers from one-on-one with Gov. Greg Abbott on Tropical Storm Beta

Gov. Greg Abbott discussed the state’s response plan as Tropical Storm slowly approaching the Gulf coast.
Gov. Greg Abbott discussed the state’s response plan as Tropical Storm slowly approaching the Gulf coast. (KPRC)

HOUSTON – Gov. Greg Abbott discussed the state’s response plan Sunday as Tropical Storm Beta slowly approaches the Gulf Coast. The State Operations Center has been activated to Level 2 readiness.

“We do not think this will be a very significant wind event because we don’t think it will get to hurricane status,” said Abbott.

He said residents should be “very cautious about potential flooding” that can occur. He reminded people not to drive into high water.

“Turn around. Don’t drown,” he said.

This interview has been cut and edited for brevity and clarity.

KPRC 2: What does the state’s response look like Sunday night?

Abbott: "We’ve already allocated resources in multiple regions across the entire Gulf Coast, not knowing exactly where the storm will come across. Not knowing exactly how severe it will be but we are prepared to be involved in search and rescue operations. We’re very concerned about the flooding that could take place, whether it be from Victoria to Houston or over to Beaumont. We have to have resources staged in advance to help people be able to respond to that flooding event.

KPRC 2: Voluntary evacuations have been ordered for many living in low-lying and flood-prone areas, what is your message to those in those evacuation zones?

Abbott: Residents need to heed the warnings of those local officials, who know that area better than anybody and what can happen during a flood or a storm event like this. It’s so important to heed those warnings especially now because right now. You do still have time to be able to evacuate to get out of the way of harm’s way. As the storm comes ashore, otherwise you will be compromising your life. If you do not heed those warnings.

KPRC 2: At this time a disaster declaration has yet to be declared, do you anticipate making one?

Abbott: I do, and we typically do if it’s going to be a hurricane, it typically would be issued in advance. Obviously there’s been a lack of clarity about exactly where the storm is going to hit. But that is something that you can probably count on happening pretty quickly.

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