Mandatory, voluntary evacuation orders issued in Jasper, Polk, Trinity, Tyler counties

Mandatory, voluntary evacuation orders issued in Jasper, Polk, Trinity, Tyler counties
Source: Facebook
Source: Facebook
Source: TxDOT
Source: TxDOT
Source: Facebook
Source: Facebook
Source: KTRE Staff
Source: KTRE Staff

TRINITY COUNTY, TX (KTRE) - In the wake of the heavy rainfall Harvey has dropped on Southeast Texas, several counties have issued disaster declarations and/or have sent out mandatory or voluntary evacuation orders.

According to a post on the Tyler County Sheriff's Office Facebook page, County Judge Jacques Blanchette has called for a mandatory evacuation for those living in "all low-lying, flood prone areas of Tyler County."

The Red Cross has set up a shelter at the True Vine Baptist Church located at 2929 U.S. Highway 69 in Doucette, according to the Facebook post.

For a list of the Tyler County roads that have been closed because of flooding, visit this link.

Another post on the Tyler County Sheriff's Office page stated the county is expected to receive another 10 to 15 inches of rainfall between Tuesday and Wednesday. No high winds are expected.

"Localized flooding is possible," the Tyler County Sheriff's Office Facebook post stated. "Your local fire departments and the Tyler County Emergency Management office have sand and bags available if needed. Use caution when traveling, do not attempt to cross a road which is under water."

The post also stated that Tyler County is a pass-through county only for evacuees coming from Houston and other parts of Southeast Texas. It also said that Angelina County is the nearest sheltering county.

On Monday morning, Jasper County Judge Mark Allen issued a voluntary evacuation order for all county residents in low-lying areas of the Neches River corridor. The order went into effect at 11:30 a.m.

In the voluntary evacuation order, Allen said the county's leadership has been in constant contact with the National Weather Service and the Texas State Operations Center. He said they based their decision to issue the order on information from those agencies as well as information regarding the "forecasted emergency release of water from the Own Bluff Dam at the B.A. Steinhagen Reservoir by representatives of the United States Army Corps of Engineers."

The release is expected to cause flooding that has the potential to cause severe bodily injury or death to people in the low-lying areas of the Neches River corridor in Jasper County.

On Monday, Allen also decided to continue the disaster declaration he issued on August 24. The declaration order said it will expire in 14 days.

BIlly Ted Smith, the emergency management coordinator for Jasper, Newton, and Sabine counties told East Texas News that, so far, no evacuees are at the Jasper County evacuation center. He added that should anyone need to take refuge there, it's ready to serve.

Smith said it's more of a wait-and-see situation for them.

In the wake of the heavy rainfall Hurricane Harvey has dropped on Southeast Texas, Trinity County Judge Doug Page has issued a mandatory evacuation order for the Sportsman Oak subdivision.

The Trinity VFW Hall located at 400 E. Caroline Street has been opened for evacuees to take shelter there.

Earlier Monday morning, Trinity County Sheriff Woody Wallace posted a video on Facebook urging people to wave them down because they are bringing several boats into the subdivision to help with the mandatory evacuation. He posted another video a short time later.

Wallace said in the video that he and Chief Deputy Tommy Park drove through the Sportsman Oak subdivision and visited every house to let people know of the mandatory evacuation order.

"A lot of people chose to stay," Wallace said in the video. "We've gotten the people out who wanted to leave."

In the video, the rising water is up to the fenders of the TCSO patrol vehicles, and Wallace said that they told people in the subdivision that the sheriff's office will probably not be coming back if the weather gets worse overnight.

However, Wallace added, "If anyone knows of anyone we might have missed, we'll try to get back to help if we can."

In the second video, Wallace said the City of Conroe is asking for volunteers with air boats to come help in rescue operations.

"Apparently, the City of Conroe hasn't seen the worst of it yet," Wallace said. "If you get a second, and you don't mind, please take a moment to pray for those folks down south of us because Lord knows we all need help."

The Trinity County Sheriff's Office said in an alert that was posted on its Facebook page that they are closely monitoring weather conditions and they will update information as soon as they can.

The post stated that people should only call 911 for emergencies. The Trinity County Sheriff's Office non-emergency number is (36) 642-1424.

On a related note, Trinity ISD has made the decision to close all of its schools until Wednesday, Aug. 30.

Polk County District Attorney Lee Hon posted on his Facebook page that Polk County Judge Sydney Murphy has issued a voluntary evacuation order for the unincorporated areas of Polk County below the Lake Livingston Dam and along the Trinity River. The order is effective immediately.

"The Dunbar Gym Facility located at 1103 Dunbar Avenue in Livingston, Texas will opened as a shelter for residents of the affected areas, who should bring proof residence," the Facebook post stated. "All pets must be contained in pet carriers. No weapons are allowed."

One family packed their belongings in a trash bags after bring rescued by boats from the flooded home.

"It was pretty stressful, and I remember my mom was crying and my Aunt Juju was crying and didn't know what was going to happen, and it was just very stressful and I was really scared," said Damon Potts, a Polk County resident.

Polk County officials are cautioning residents to heed warnings and avoiding flooded roads to prevent being stranded.

"Right now we have an additional team of game wardens that have come in to provide assistance from other areas. We have assisted some individuals out of water where their homes were flooded," said Polk County Judge Sydney Murphy.

One resident said she evacuated her family in advance to avoid being trapped, adding she is grateful for the shelter and its resources.

"I was scared Where are we going to go? What are we going to do? As long as we're all together, we're good," said Teresa Buckalew, a Goodrich resident.

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