Austin area preps to receive Hurricane Laura evacuees, COTA opens at 4 p.m.


AUSTIN (KXAN) — Evacuees from areas in the path of Hurricane Laura could be sheltered in and around Austin, the city said Tuesday.

The City of Austin, along with Travis, Hays and Williamson counties, have activated the Capital Area Shelter Hub Plan at the request of Gov. Greg Abbott and the State of Texas to prepare to receive evacuees.

Gov. Abbott said in a press conference that the Circuit of the Americas race track facility will serve as an evacuation center. It opens at 4 p.m.

Texas Gulf Coast cities Port Arthur and Galveston have issued citywide evacuation notices, and as Laura approaches land, more notices are expected to be put in place.

The city’s Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Management, along with the Travis County Office of Emergency Management, have been reviewing and altering the plan since earlier this summer to prepare for sheltering needs related to COVID-19, and rather than using large congregate shelters, part of the plan is to assign evacuees to hotels.

There’s room for 3,000 people around 18 hotels across the three counties. The location of the hotels aren’t being made public, the city says.

Texas State University in San Marcos will house 60-70 students and staff from Lamar University in Beaumont, the university said.

University officials said the Lamar students and staff will have the same access of their Texas State counterparts while on campus. Lamar is part of the Texas State University System.

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