GALVESTON, Texas (AP) — Galveston County Judge Mark Henry issued mandatory evacuations for portions of Galveston and Bolivar Peninsula ahead of Hurricane Laura
Bolivar Peninsula expects storm surges of 5-to-8 feet. More mandatory evacuations were expected to be issued for other cities within the county later Tuesday.
Hurricane Laura approached Tuesday on the three-year anniversary of Hurricane Harvey making landfall with Category 4 strength in Texas, dumping more than 50 inches of rain and leaving Houston underwater. Republican Gov. Greg Abbott said Laura is not the same kind of storm but instead “more of a wind event.”
Mass evacuations along the coast also began another test of the state’s handling of the coronavirus, which clobbered Texas this summer and has resulted in more than 11,000 deaths. State officials said buses marshaled to the coast were stocked with personal protective equipment and disinfectants, and that buses would make more trips and carry fewer passengers in order to keep people farther apart.
Outside of Galveston’s community center, dozens of people lined up in the hot sun to board buses bound for shelters in Austin.
Many, like Everic Asberry, 55, live on the west portion of Galveston, which is susceptible to storm surge flooding. “So it’s probably going to, you know, probably is going to have pretty good impact there,” Asberry said. “So, I’m leaving.”
Adam Hendy, a graduate researcher at the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston said he considered weathering the storm. But the Leicester, England native decided he should listen the advice of his supervisor instead.
“Since I’m not from around here, I didn’t know whether that was just a good idea in my head or whether I should heed the local warnings,” Hendy said. “I’m from England, we don’t get that kind of weather there. I’m taking the bus.”