Escaping Harvey

Border Patrol checkpoints north of the Rio Grande Valley will stay open as thousands in South Texas prepare to evacuate to avoid Hurricane Harvey, according to the Texas Tribune. “Border Patrol checkpoints will not be closed unless there is a danger to the safety of the traveling public and our agents. Border Patrol resources, including personnel and transportation, will be deployed on an as needed basis to augment the efforts and capabilities of local-response authorities,” the agency said in a statement to the Tribune. Although CBP public affairs officer Roberto Rodriguez told the Tribune that Border Patrol would not stop anyone from getting to safety, the agency still has a job to do. “We’re not going to impede anybody getting out of here, but at the same time we’re a law enforcement agency, so we still have to conduct our duties,” he said. Southeast Texas is expected to face the brunt of Harvey, and Brownsville Mayor Tony Martinez issued a disaster declaration for the city, also activating its emergency operation center.

The Stakes in Corpus

Hurricane Harvey will make landfall near Corpus Christi, and according to the Weather Channel it is expected to take the biggest hit. Grocery stores began to close Friday morning, and roads leading out of Corpus were clogged with traffic, according to the Austin American-Statesman. Still, mandatory evacuations still haven’t been issued for the city as of Friday morning. “We could mandate it, but people need to make a decision of their own,” said Corpus Christi Mayor Joe McComb. “I’m not going to risk our police and fire people going to try and drag somebody out of the house if they don’t want to go. Because our fire and police, they’re fathers and mothers, brothers, sisters, uncles. They’ve got relatives and they’ve got family, and we don’t want to put them in harm’s way because someone just wanted to stay.” As we noted in our September issue, a shale boom and the end of a decades-old export ban has finally put the Port of Corpus Christi on the map. The port, which exports more oil per day than Houston, Texas City, and Galveston, has closed down in preparation for the storm, according to Reuters.

Disaster Preparedness

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) said in a statement on Thursday that it has been in close coordination with state and local officials as Hurricane Harvey hurtles toward Texas. FEMA has established a support base at Randolph Auxiliary Airfield near Seguin, which will supply water, meals, blankets, and other essentials. Should they be needed, state and local officials will be responsible for distributing supplies. FEMA has also established an Emergency Operations Center in Austin. You can check out FEMA’s disaster preparedness tips, which were included in the release.