Parts of South Texas remain in the impact area of Hurricane Alex, the first storm of the Atlantic Hurricane season. Forecasters project landfall overnight, somewhere between Mexico and Brownsville. Governor Rick Perry has declared a state of disaster for 19 counties in South Texas and adds that President Obama has signed an emergency declaration that allows the state to pursue federal assistance, if needed.
“My message to Texans is — particularly those in the projected impact area — finish your preparations, stay connected to the credible information sources and heed the warnings of your local leaders, like the county judges, your sheriffs, your mayors. They are closely integrated with our statewide emergency management effort and they have been mobilized to prepare for Alex’s impact.”
He adds he’s not surprised at the arrival of Alex so early in the hurricane season.
“I hope the experts are wrong but, particularly with the oil spill that’s continuing to soil the gulf coast. It’s of great concern, you get a storm track through that area with that oil, and how it impacts the gulf coast on Texas’ side.”
Perry says the state’s emergency management team is taking the storm seriously and adds residents should also. He met with Texas Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson at a regional office east of Houston, to get an update on contingency plans to any potential impact the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico might have on Texas as a result of Hurricane Alex.
“We have five locations like this on the Texas Gulf Coast. We have 56-personnel. We drill with industry, with our partners, and I want to make sure everyone recognizes the Coast Guard is a sterling partner in this effort. We have command exercises. We have practiced, practiced, audited, inspected, and we have equipment. So we’re ready and we are not just reactive, we are proactive.”
Patterson says the buck stops with him.
“In Texas, there is somebody who’s responsible for oil spills. And if we mess it up, then I’m the person to be held accountable.”
Although oil from the spill is not predicted to reach Texas shores in the immediate future, Patterson says that any oil found is expected to be in the form of weathered tar balls.