Texas Prepares For Hurricane Rita

The following are the latest developments in Texas’ response to Hurricane Rita:

  • Gov. Rick Perry has ordered the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) to begin positioning gasoline tankers along evacuation routes to assist motorist who may run out of gas.
  • Gov. Perry earlier today directed TxDOT to implement contra-flow protocols along Interstate Highways 10 and 45 to allow motorists to travel outbound on inbound lanes.
  • Gov. Perry has requested 10,000 additional military personnel from the federal government to assist in post-landfall search and rescue and law enforcement activities.
  • Gov. Perry has ordered the air evacuation of approximately 9,000 individuals from Houston and Beaumont who require special assistance.
  • Texas is deploying additional Department of Public Safety troopers at critical junctions along evacuation routes to assist in traffic flow activities.
  • Texas is working with the gas and petrochemical industry to safeguard and secure critical industries according to the emergency plans. This does not mean that all of these facilities are shutting down and many will remain operational.
  • State troopers continue to go door-to-door to every identified special needs facility to ensure all individuals have been evacuated. This process is on-going.
  • All state-run facilities in the hurricane’s path have been evacuated.
  • Gov. Perry has approved all leave requests by state employees who are certified disaster service volunteers of the American Red Cross to assist the Red Cross in responding to Hurricane Rita.
  • DSHS has 40,000 doses of tetanus vaccine on hand in Austin ready to deploy as needed.

Previous Update Information

  • Gov. Perry today issued a disaster declaration in anticipation of landfall in Texas and has asked President Bush to approve the disaster declaration and 100 percent reimbursement for Texas communities responding.
  • Gov. Perry has recalled Texas National Guard, Texas Task Force 1, and all other emergency personnel and equipment from Louisiana to prepare for potential landfall of Hurricane Rita in Texas.
  • Gov. Perry ordered the activation of 5,000 Texas Army National Guard personnel to support preparation efforts, including 3 Ch-47 Chinook Helicopters, 6 UH-60 Blackhawk Helicopters and 2 OH-58 Kiowa support Helicopters.
  • Law enforcement teams including Texas State Troopers will begin pre-staging along evacuation corridors to be sent into the area as soon as the storm has past.
  • Texas is pre-positioning water, ice and other essentials in San Antonio so they can rapidly be sent to the affected area as soon as it is safe to do so.
  • The State Operations Center is holding regular conference calls several times a day with local, state and federal officials.
  • The Governor's Emergency Management Council has been placed on Level One alert status, the highest level since the shuttle disaster.
  • 500 Texas State Guard members are being activated to assist the American Red Cross with shelter management.
  • Texas is preparing immediate care strike teams consisting of the American Red Cross, the Salvation Army and the Texas Army National Guard, that can move rapidly into the area where the storm strikes.
  • The SOC is also preparing for potential inland flooding by pre-positioning water rescue teams, and for the potential for tornadoes, which can strike inland areas hundreds of miles away.