Not all listening but Mid-County officials stress now is time to leave

Published 12:03 pm Tuesday, August 25, 2020

PORT NECHES — Jefferson County Judge Jeff Branick issued a mandatory evacuation Monday night for the entire county after a shift in Hurricane Laura posed a greater threat to Southeast Texas.

However, not all local residents are following the instruction, according to county leaders.

Port Neches City Manager André Wimer said residents are showing mixed reactions to the evacuation order.

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“I think there are some people that elected to leave at this point, others are planning to leave later on today and possibly (Wednesday) and yet, there may be some that are looking not to leave at all,” he said. “I’ve been in city hall all day, so I haven’t gotten to drive around and look at the exact numbers.”

There are no nursing homes within the City of Port Neches, but emergency personnel are focusing on evacuating those incapable of evacuating on their own.

“We do have some individuals that are previously registered as needing assistance to evacuate. and the fire department is working with those in need of evacuation help,” Wimer said.

Whether residents choose to stay or leave, Wimer said it’s imperative to keep an eye on all forecasts.

“Everybody needs to monitor the forecast and make the necessary preparations for the potential impact of the hurricane,” he said.

In Groves, City Manager D.E. Sosa said the entire city is in preparation mode.

“Right now we are battening down the hatchets and getting ready for the storm,” he said.

The City of Groves is under a mandatory evacuation order.

A city statement read: “We urge all residence to follow this order. First responders will not be able to make assistance or emergency calls during the heart of the storm. We also would like to remind residence to please place your garbage cans in a safe, secure area before you leave. Do not leave them on the street. Garbage trucks are not running today because the landfill is closed until further notice.”

Next door, Nederland City Manager Chris Duque said his focus is assisting special-needs residents.

“We’re busy with getting our storm preparation underway,” he said. “Our public safety department is focusing right now on getting our special needs citizens to safety.”

The city’s evacuation hub for elderly or at-risk individuals is set up at Fellowship Baptist Church, 1315 27th St. in Nederland.

“We have buses taking people out there all day, but because of COVID-19 it’s going slower than usual,” Duque said. “We are making sure to not fill those buses all the way up.”

Duque is asking people to continue adhering to the mandatory evacuation order.

“We are considering the areas that were affected the worst in the past and asking those individuals to leave as soon as they can,” he said.

The amount of residents evacuating this afternoon is “less than the county would like based on the evacuation order,” Duque said.

“We ask people to continue to follow updates, receive notifications and stay informed through the city’s social media and STAN alerts, and not follow all these rumors spreading through social media,” he said.

“We asking people to get that information from us and we will continue to make updates throughout the day.”

Duque said residents can expect the next city update at approximately 3 or 4 p.m.

Residents in the Parkway Village and Lakes of Nederland neighborhoods are in an area with a high probability of flooding from Hurricane Laura. Once the hurricane arrives, rescues will become impossible. Evacuate with your pets ASAP! – Nederland officials say.