Texas Gov. Rick Perry notified legislators from coastal areas across the state that he has directed Homeland Security Director Steve McCraw to assess Texas’ ability to handle large scale evacuations in the event of a catastrophic hurricane, the Governor’s office announced.
“Over the last several weeks we have been reminded of the substantial threat hurricanes can pose to the safety of our citizens who reside and/or work in the coastal areas of our state,” Perry wrote in a letter sent to legislators.
“There are significant challenges associated with the large scale evacuation of citizens from coastal areas of Texas, and I want to ensure that we are optimally prepared in the event of a catastrophic hurricane.”
Perry said he is particularly concerned about local communities’ ability to quickly evacuate major population centers in the coastal areas of Beaumont-Port Arthur, Houston-Galveston, Corpus Christi and Brownsville-Harlingen.
The assessment will include a review of existing evacuation routes, traffic control plans and intergovernmental coordination needed to manage such evacuations.
The assessment also will include a review of the state’s role in coordinating state resources needed at the local level.
Perry has directed McCraw to gather input from local community leaders along the coastal area of the state and from Texas legislators, as well as officials in Florida, as part of his assessment.
Perry told legislators he would make recommendations based on the assessment and would share results of the study with them. He has asked for the report no later than Feb. 15.
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