ORANGE, Texas – Texas Gov. Greg Abbott on Thursday praised local officials who issued evacuation orders ahead of Hurricane Laura as the reason for the low number of injuries and deaths as a result of the storm.
Local, state and federal officials joined Abbott for an aerial tour of the area near the Texas-Louisiana border, just 30 miles away from where Laura slammed into Louisiana as a Category 4 hurricane with winds of 150 mph.
Abbott said the worst of the damage in Texas appears to be in the Orange area, where he saw roofs missing, steel wrapped around trees and flooded roads. He said treed damage was reported in Jefferson County, where winds of up to 60 mph were reported.
The governor said there weren’t any immediate reports of serious injuries, but there was an unconfirmed report of a death in the Sabine County area.
Abbott said the fact that there may have been only one death in the state, is credited to the early evacuation orders that were issued by local officials and the people who heeded those warnings.
“That is a miracle,” Abbott said. “Preparation paid off.”
Abbott said there are about 160,000 power outages in the Texas area affected by Hurricane Laura. He said about 8,500 people were sheltered ahead of the storm.
The governor said anyone who has sustained damage to their property should call their insurance companies as soon as possible.
Abbott said he is hearing a similar sentiment from people in the region: “We dodged a bullet.” However, he reminded residents that hurricane season is far from over and they should be prepared if another storm takes aim at Texas.
Watch Abbott’s entire news conference below: