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Abbott declares disaster for 23 counties ahead of tropical systems expected later this week

Gov. Abbott discusses state’s coronavirus response
Gov. Abbott discusses state’s coronavirus response (KPRC 2)

HOUSTON – Texas Gov. Greg Abbott declared a disaster for all 22 coastal counties and Bexar County as the state prepares for possible impacts from two tropical storms moving into the Gulf.

Abbott said he also asked President Donald Trump to declare a federal emergency for the 23 counties, which would help the state meet emergency protection requirements, including preparing shelters.

The counties included: Aransas, Bexar, Brazoria, Calhoun, Cameron, Chambers, Galveston, Hardin, Harris, Jackson, Jasper, Jefferson, Kennedy, Kleberg, Liberty, Matagorda, Newton, Nueces, Orange, Refugio, San Patricio, Victoria and Willacy.

“As the storms progress, thee may be additional needs to expand the counties that would be suspected to the disaster declaration,” Abbott said.

Bexar County is on the list since shelters could be established there and response resources will be staged there, Abbott said.

Here are some of the key steps Texas is taking in preparation for the storms:

  • The Texas military division, including the National Guard, is rostering 860 personnel helicopters, high-profile vehicles, sheltering teams, disinfection teams and mobile testing squads.
  • Texas Division of Emergency Management has activated The Alamo Regional Command Center and ordered 100 buses to arrive at the center. The division also activated the state contract for fuel and hygiene services.
  • TDEM is also preparing shelter capacity, food, sanitation kits and other support operations for deployment. A shelter that can hold at least 5,000 evacuees has already been identified.
  • The Texas Department of State Health Services has activated 50 ambulances and medical incident support personnel. They also identified two current COVID-19 facilities that could be converted into medical shelters, one in San Antonio and one north of the Houston area.
  • The Texas Department of Transportation has identified high-profile vehicles to support evaluation and response.
  • The Texas Department of Public Safety has rostered their marine swift water rescue teams and helicopters, with hoist capability, four boat squads and 1,000 Highway Patrol troopers as needed.
  • The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality is fully engaged and prepared to respond as needed, especially to any hazardous materials, including air quality or water quality.
  • The Texas Parks and Wildlife Division has assigned 65 game wardens to respond, providing helicopters, water rescue equipment, drones and canines.
  • Texas Task Force One and Texas Task Force Two are both fully engaged, deploying 150 personnel.

View the news briefing in its entirety below:

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