Gov. Abbott issues state disaster declaration as two tropical systems approach the Texas coast

On Sunday, Texas Governor Greg Abbott held a press conference in Austin where he provided an update on the state’s response to Hurricane Marco and Tropical Storm Laura.

Both tropical systems are currently forecasted to impact parts of the Texas Coast and East Texas within the coming week. 

"As Hurricane Marco and Tropical Storm Laura approach Texas, the state is taking necessary precautions to protect our communities and keep Texans safe," said Governor Abbott. "I urge Texans in the path of these storms to plan ahead and heed the guidance of their local officials. The State of Texas is working with local and federal partners to monitor these storms and provide the resources our communities need to respond."

The governor issued a state disaster declaration and also requested an Emergency Declaration from President Trump and FEMA for Public Assistance Category B (Emergency Protective Measures), Direct Federal Assistance, and Hazard Mitigation statewide. That Federal Emergency Declaration request was granted on Monday, August 24.


"Texas is grateful to President Trump and our partners at FEMA for quickly granting this Federal Emergency Declaration," said Governor Abbott. "As Tropical Storms Marco and Laura head towards the coast, the State of Texas is working with local and federal partners to ensure our communities have the resources they need to respond to these storms." 

FEMA is now authorized to provide emergency protective measures (Category B), limited to direct Federal assistance and reimbursement for mass care including evacuation and shelter support at 75 percent federal funding.

The counties in the state disaster declaration include:

  • Aransas
  • Bexar
  • Brazoria
  • Calhoun
  • Cameron 
  • Chambers
  • Galveston 
  • Hardin
  • Harris
  • Jackson
  •  Jasper 
  • Jefferson
  • Kenedy
  •  Kleberg
  • Liberty 
  • Matagorda
  • Newton
  • Nueces
  • Orange
  • Refugio
  • San Patricio 
  • Victoria
  • Willacy 

Tropical Storm Marco was upgraded to a Category 1 hurricane Sunday morning after Air Craft Hurricane Hunter data showed maximum sustained winds had reached 75 mph.

Over the last 24-hours, the track of Marco has shifted dramatically to the east. Current National Hurricane Center, NHC, forecasts show Hurricane Marco likely making landfall in southeastern Louisiana on Monday. 

While some strengthening is forecast as Hurricane Marco spins over the warm Gulf waters, increasing wind shear near the system will inhibit growth somewhat.

After landfall, Marco will likely begin a westward turn, moving into East Texas as a tropical depression. 

Farther east, Tropical Storm Laura continues to pound the Dominican Republic and Haiti with heavy rain and sustained winds of 50 mph.

This system will cross Cuba and move into the Gulf of Mexico early this week. Recent forecast updates to the track of Tropical Storm Laura show a more northwestward motion. 

The actual track Laura takes will depend heavily on a ridge of high pressure over the Atlantic. Some models indicate this ridge expanding into the eastern U.S. pushing Tropical Storm Laura towards Texas a bit more. 

A weaker, smaller Atlantic ridge would likely result in another Louisiana landfall, the second in a week. 

Currently, the NHC shows Laura making landfall near the Texas-Louisiana state line, as a category 2 hurricane, Thursday morning.


TDEM has also rostered resources in preparation to support request from local officials including: 

• Texas A&M Forest Service: Saw Crews and Incident Management Teams

• Texas A&M Engineering and Extension Service: Texas A&M Task Force One and Two Search and Rescue Teams

• Texas Parks and Wildlife Department: Boat Teams to support Water Rescue Operations

• Texas Military Department: Helicopters, sheltering teams, disinfecting teams, mobile testing teams, and High Profile Vehicle packages

• Texas Department of State Health Services: Emergency Medical Task Force severe weather packages and Ambulance Strike Teams

• Texas Department of Transportation: High Profile Vehicles

• Texas Department of Public Safety – Texas Highway Patrol: Search and Rescue Aircraft with hoist capability and the Tactical Marine Unit