Thursday, 27 August 2020 23:03

‘It Could Have Been Far Worse’: Texas, Local Officials Express Relief After State Avoids Massive Damage

Written by Julian Aguilar and Cassandra Pollock, The Texas Tribune


Hurricane Laura was downgraded again to a tropical storm early the afternoon of Aug. 27, as Texas federal, state and local officials breathed a sigh of relief that they avoided a direct blow from the storm and offered support for parts of Louisiana dealing with the hurricane's worst effects.

As of early the afternoon of Aug. 27, the city of Orange appeared to be the hardest hit in Texas, Gov. Greg Abbott said during a news conference with the city’s mayor and the county judge. Abbott, U.S. Sens. John Cornyn and Ted Cruz, and Lt. Gov Dan Patrick toured the damage path via helicopter earlier in the day.


“You saw more rooftops ripped off, you saw more shingles missing, you saw more trees down [in Orange],” Abbott said. “You saw some roads that were still inundated under water, impassible at this particular time.”


Abbott said he anticipated reports of additional heavy damage as residents made their way back home but said Texans should consider themselves lucky that previous dire forecasts didn’t materialize.


“As I asked everybody how they feel about working their way through this hurricane everyone pretty much had the same phrase, and that is: 'We dodged a bullet,'" he said. "It could have been far worse, we were anticipating and it was prognosticated that there would be a storm surge that could very easily exceed 10 feet.”


The surge was closer to 3 feet, Abbott said and praised local government leaders for their preparedness.


“One thing that saved lives was evacuation orders that were made by local officials. And it was so important for local residents to heed those local warnings,” he said.


But Abbott said there is still a considerable amount of work to do in the region in the storm’s aftermath.

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