As experts continue monitoring what is now Hurricane Laura's path, Harris County and City of Houston leaders are urging residents to be prepared.
Tropical Storm Laura's projected path brings the system somewhere in between southeast Texas and southeastern Louisiana Wednesday night into Thursday morning as a Category 2 hurricane.
Houston is currently just outside of the left side of the cone of uncertainty. The center of the cone is pointing towards the southwestern Louisiana coast.
"This is not Harvey, this is not Imelda, this is not Allison. This is Laura," Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo said during a press conference on Monday. "Every storm is different, and we urge folks not to use any prior storm as a template for what or will happen. What we need to do is prepare for the worst."
While we won't have a clear forecast until tomorrow morning, she urges residents, "Time is the most precious resource, so let's not waste it."
Mayor Sylvester Turner also suggests that you have supplies on standby and have food that won't spoil in case of a power outage.
While there is no evacuation underway, Turner says Houstonians should stay off the roads to let people who are evacuating from Galveston and westward from counties east of the city to get through.
"Harvey was a rainy event. This one, for example, would be more of a windy day. We are certainly more prepared than we were three years ago," Turner said. "We learned a lot from Hurricane Harvey but you cannot compare Harvey, with what we are dealing in this particular case."
The additional concern is the spread of COVID-19. This is something Hidalgo says they have thought about carefully and the Red Cross has been preparing for but is asking the community to help too.
"You're asking folks to leave, stay with friends and family, that is additional exposure," Hidalgo said. "Overall, we are preparing for each contingency and what we need the community's help with is to do the same. On the COVID-19 side, making sure you have a mask, you have hand sanitizer, you have the hygiene supplies that you need were there to be power outages."
In the event of flooding, Houston Fire Department's Chief Sam Pena says they have 10 high water vehicles and a water strike team ready to be deployed. "We're ready to deploy and staff up as we need," Pena said.
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