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Mayor calls for voluntary evacuation of parts of Port Arthur

Due to the threat of not one but two tropical storms, Port Arthur Mayor Thurman Bartie is calling for the voluntary evacuation of Sabine Pass and Pleasure Island.

The request, made during a 4 p.m. Saturday press conference, is due to those areas having a lower elevation and proximity to the Gulf of Mexico, Bartie said.

“It is advisable for these voluntary evacuations to begin now, while travel to northern points may be reached without added weather related obstacles,” Bartie said. “This is a request from your mayor and the emergency management team working for you.”

Bartie said, per Port Arthur Independent School District Superintendent Mark Porterie, school will be in session on Monday and further instructions will be given after that.

The mayor did not know plans for Sabine Pass Independent School District, which is in the city limits of Port Arthur.

Just a block away from city hall at the Pavilion on Procter Street residents were loading sand bags. Two loads of sand had been delivered on Saturday to the site with the possibility of more on Sunday.

Persons wanting to obtain sand bags are asked to bring their own shovel and social distancing is encouraged and enforced.

The Jefferson County Emergency Management Office did not call the voluntary evacuation of Sabine Pass and Pleasure Island.

Tropical Storm Marco is forecast to enter the Gulf of Mexico and possibly become a category one hurricane while Tropical Storm Laura isn’t expected to strengthen until it gets to the southeastern Gulf late Monday and become a hurricane then.

Forecasting where the storms will make landfall at this point is difficult, National weather Service-Lake Charles warning coordination meteorologist Roger Erickson said.