Abbott Calls Preemptive “State Of Disaster” for 30 Counties Including Austin County For Expected Flooding

Governor Greg Abbott has called a preemptive state of disaster for 30 counties in Texas, with Austin County being included in the list.  The disaster was called because the National Weather Service and the National Hurricane Center are expecting Tropical Depression Harvey to intensify in the coming days causing severe flooding, storm surges and damaging winds. 

Harvey is expected to be caught in a zone of light steering winds this weekend that will slow or stall the circulation.  Wedged between two areas of high pressure aloft, one over the Desert Southwest and a weaker one over the central Gulf of Mexico, Harvey is expected to stall for a period of a few days.  This has the potential for producing prolific rainfall, capable of major flash flooding.

While it is too soon for specific rainfall forecasts, areas in yellow and orange are in the highest threat for flooding rainfall from Harvey through the weekend. Some of this rain may linger into Monday or beyond in some areas.

The notification for the “state of disaster” came from Texas Senator Lois Kolkhorst’s Facebook Page:

BREAKING: Governor Abbott has preemptively declared a state of disaster for Aransas, Austin, Bee, Calhoun, Chambers, Colorado, Brazoria, DeWitt, Fayette, Fort Bend, Galveston, Goliad, Gonzales, Harris, Jackson, Jefferson, Jim Wells, Karnes, Kleberg, Lavaca, Liberty, Live Oak, Matagorda, Nueces, Refugio, San Patricio, Victoria, Waller, Wharton and Wilson counties. The National Weather Service and the National Hurricane Center expect Tropical Depression Harvey to intensify in the coming days causing severe flooding, storm surges and damaging winds. Much of Senate District 18 will be impacted by this tropical depression, I urge all residents to make necessary preparations. In light of the depression, I have canceled my two speeches in Matagorda County scheduled for this weekend and will be working with local officials and state response teams as we work to keep people safe.

Austin County Emergency Management Officer, Ray Chislett released the following message:

The National Weather Service has issued a tropical storm watch for Austin County.  A weather update for Austin County will be issued Thursday at 11AM.  Tropical Storm Harvey is forecasted to make landfall mid-day Friday on the Texas Coast.  Slow movement of the storm implies potential flooding from heavy rainfall.  At the present time, the predicted rainfall for Austin County is between 10 to 15 inches.

Rain and strong winds are predicted for a 72-hour period, beginning Friday afternoon and continuing in our area until Monday afternoon.   

Now is the time to check your emergency plan and take necessary actions to secure your home or business.

  • Ensure that your Emergency Supplies Kit is stocked and ready.
  • If you live in a place that is particularly vulnerable to high wind, such as a mobile home, plan to move to safe shelter. Take enough supplies for you and your family for several days.
  • Don’t forget your animals and their needs. Animals should have identification tags in the event they are separated from their owner.
  • If you live in a place particularly vulnerable to flooding, such as in a low lying or poor drainage area, plan to move to safe shelter on higher ground.
  • Always heed the advice of local officials and comply with any orders that are issued. Do not needlessly jeopardize your life or the lives of others.
  • When securing your property, outside preparations should be conducted as soon as possible before conditions deteriorate. The onset of strong gusty winds and heavy rain can cause certain preparedness activities to become unsafe.
  • Be sure to let friends and other family members know of your intentions and whereabouts for surviving the storm. For emergency purposes, have someone located away from the threatened area serve as your point of contact. Share vital contact information with others.
  • Keep cell phones handy and well charged.
  • Be a Good Samaritan and check on those who may not be fully aware of the situation or who are unable to make personal preparations.
  • Closely monitor NOAA Weather Radio or other local news outlets for official storm information.  Listen for possible changes to the forecast.
  • Austin County News will bring you more information as it comes available.

***NOTE***  Austin County’s Emergency Service utilizes REGROUP to send out mass emergency notifications to the Austin County, Texas citizenry.  To be notified by your local emergency response team in the event of emergency situations or critical community alerts please take a moment to fill in your contact information by tapping on the “Regroup” symbol below.

Please stay tuned to Austin County News for the latest information as we make  it available as it comes to us.