GALVESTON, Texas (KXAN) — Two Texas Gulf Coast towns are being evacuated due to the impending threat of Hurricane Laura. The storm was upgraded from a tropical storm to a hurricane at 7:15 a.m. by the National Hurricane Center.
Port Arthur, Texas, officials issued the evacuation order Monday night, and Mayor Thurman Bartie said residents needed to start getting out of town by 6 a.m. Tuesday.
Galveston residents have to start evacuating the island Tuesday after the mayor pro tem signed a mandatory order around 4 a.m. Tuesday morning. They have until Wednesday to leave, a city press release says.
“With the uncertainties of this storm and its increasing strength, we need to take all necessary precautions to protect our residents,” Galveston Mayor Pro Tem Craig Brown said. “It’s imperative that you make plans this morning to secure your homes and move you and your family to safety off island.”
Weather forecasters expect the storm to intensify into potentially a Category 3 hurricane with sustained winds of 115 mph, by the time it makes landfall late Wednesday into Thursday morning. While previous models tracked the storm to hit the southwest Louisiana coast, recent model tracks have shifted the storm’s path west with Galveston potentially taking the brunt of the storm.
Galveston city services will be suspended at 12 p.m., and once the storm gets close enough to produce winds above 70 mph, fire and police services will not be available, the press release says.
If residents don’t follow the evacuation order, they shouldn’t expect public safety services as conditions worsen, the press release says.
KXAN has crews in the area and will provide update throughout the day and night leading up to Laura’s landfall.