QUOTE OF THE DAY
“People used to live off [beer] when water was often unsafe to drink.”
—Bartender Theresa Hunt to the Houston Chronicle. Houston is stocking up on the essentials ahead of Hurricane Harvey: water, canned foods, and, well, beer. According to Hunt, it’s “basically a food group.”
Tropical Storm Harvey graduated to a hurricane on Thursday, and Texans across the Gulf Coast are preparing for its landfall. Harvey is expected to hit the coast late Friday night or early Saturday, and the National Weather Service in Houston said that the storm—which has strengthened to a Category 2 hurricane—could leave parts of South Texas “uninhabitable for weeks or months,” according to CNN. Harvey is on track to become a Category 3 hurricane, meaning winds higher than 111 miles per hour, before making landfall. “All indications from the hurricane center are that this is going to be the first major hurricane the nation has dealt with since 2005,” FEMA Director Brock Long told CNN. Several Texas cities and counties issued mandatory evacuations on Thursday, including Port Aransas and Calhoun and San Patricio Counties, according to WFAA. But the list swelled as of Friday morning to include mandatory evacuations in Aransas, parts of Brazoria and Matagorda, and Refugio Counties. Governor Greg Abbott declared a state of disaster in thirty Texas counties on Wednesday, when Harvey was still a tropical storm. “Texans believe in taking action and always being prepared in the event of an emergency,” Abbott said. “That is why I am taking every precaution prior to Tropical Depression Harvey making landfall. Preemptively declaring a state of disaster will allow Texas to quickly deploy resources for the emergency response effort in anticipation of the storm’s hazardous conditions.”
MEANWHILE, IN TEXAS
Border Patrol checkpoints north of the Rio Grande Valley will stay open as thousands in South Texas prepare to evacuate to avoid Hurricane Harvey, according to the Texas Tribune. “Border Patrol checkpoints will not be closed unless there is a danger to the safety of the traveling public and our agents. Border Patrol resources, including personnel and transportation, will be deployed on an as needed basis to augment the efforts and capabilities of local-response authorities,” the agency said in a statement to the Tribune. Although CBP public affairs officer Roberto Rodriguez told the Tribune that Border Patrol would not stop anyone from getting to safety, the agency still has a job to do. “We’re not going to impede anybody getting out of here, but at the same time we’re a law enforcement agency, so we still have to conduct our duties,” he said. Southeast Texas is expected to face the brunt of Harvey, and Brownsville Mayor Tony Martinez issued a disaster declaration for the city, also activating its emergency operation center.
The Stakes in Corpus
Hurricane Harvey will make landfall near Corpus Christi, and according to the Weather Channel it is expected to take the biggest hit. Grocery stores began to close Friday morning, and roads leading out of Corpus were clogged with traffic, according to the Austin American-Statesman. Still, mandatory evacuations still haven’t been issued for the city as of Friday morning. “We could mandate it, but people need to make a decision of their own,” said Corpus Christi Mayor Joe McComb. “I’m not going to risk our police and fire people going to try and drag somebody out of the house if they don’t want to go. Because our fire and police, they’re fathers and mothers, brothers, sisters, uncles. They’ve got relatives and they’ve got family, and we don’t want to put them in harm’s way because someone just wanted to stay.” As we noted in our September issue, a shale boom and the end of a decades-old export ban has finally put the Port of Corpus Christi on the map. The port, which exports more oil per day than Houston, Texas City, and Galveston, has closed down in preparation for the storm, according to Reuters.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) said in a statement on Thursday that it has been in close coordination with state and local officials as Hurricane Harvey hurtles toward Texas. FEMA has established a support base at Randolph Auxiliary Airfield near Seguin, which will supply water, meals, blankets, and other essentials. Should they be needed, state and local officials will be responsible for distributing supplies. FEMA has also established an Emergency Operations Center in Austin. You can check out FEMA’s disaster preparedness tips, which were included in the release.
WHAT WE’RE READING
Why North Texas should pay attention to Harvey Dallas Observer
Here are the areas where Harvey is most likely to knock out power ABC 13
How to prepare for Harvey The Washington Post
Dangers of Harvey that might not be obvious to the public Forbes