GALVESTON, Texas – Galveston County Judge Mark Henry issued a disaster declaration for the area just hours after the city of Galveston issued a voluntary evacuation order ahead of Tropical Storm Laura. The voluntary evacuation has since upgraded to a mandatory evacuation as of Tuesday.
According to Henry, the disaster declaration affects multiple areas including, Tiki Island, San Leon, Baycliff, Hitchcock, the Bolivar Peninsula and Galveston.
“Forecasts are showing the possibility of heavy rains, tropical force winds, and storm surge impacting our area,” Henry said in a press conference Monday afternoon. “This storm potentially presents a serious threat to the life safety and property of our residents.”
Earlier Monday, Galveston officials urged people who live in low-lying areas west of the end of the seawall are encouraged to evacuate the area as Laura approaches the coast.
“We urge our residents living in these areas to make preparations to leave,” the release read. “Higher than normal tides ahead of the storm may make some roads impassable so it is important to act quickly and carefully.”
The city also asked anyone who is not a resident or an employee on the island to go home. RV parks in the area were also asked to close and guests were asked to vacate.