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Cameron Parish issues voluntary evacuation; storm moving away from Coastal Texas

The Cameron Parish Office of Emergency Preparedness issued a voluntary evacuation order for areas south of the Intracoastal Waterway starting at noon Thursday. In an issued statement, officials said they may upgrade that to a mandatory evacuation, should weather conditions worsen.

But around Greater Port Arthur and Mid County, public leaders were issuing only a sigh of relief. Forecasters determined that the brunt of the storm, which earlier this week appeared to include Port Arthur, was moving east, away from Coastal Texas and toward Louisiana’s mid-section. Cameron Parish people, too, were largely feeling relief.

Nonetheless, the National Weather Service in Lake Charles on Thursday afternoon issued a host of cautions regarding the expected landfall of Tropical Storm Barry — it was rated a tropical storm then — including storm surge warnings and watches and hurricane watches for a wide swarth of ground from Cameron Parish eastward.

Clair Hebert Marceaux, port director in Cameron Parish, said despite the warnings, things were “looking good” for the port, harbor and industrial district. The port’s waterways include the Calcasieu Ship Channel and the Cameron Loop.

Cameron Parish is home to Cheniere Energy, the recently opened Cameron LNG and Venture Global LNG’s Calcasieu Pass Project.

“Right now things look good,” Marceaux said at late afternoon. “We are on the west side of the storm, so we don’t expect a mandatory evacuation.”

She said that the National Weather Service appeared to be more certain of the storm’s course Thursday.