With growing concerns about massive flooding along the Texas Gulf Coast from Hurricane Harvey, the White House on Friday urged residents of that region to heed the warnings of local officials in the Lone Star State, with top officials saying that if people are told to evacuate, they should follow those orders.
“Those who ignore evacuation orders could be putting both themselves and first responders in danger,” said White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders.
“Mandatory or not, if you are asked to leave, I think it’s a good idea to take those precautions and take those steps,” said White House Homeland Security Advisor Tom Bossert to reporters in the White House Briefing Room.
The most troubling part of the forecast is how little forward progress Harvey may make once it reaches the Texas coast, as the storm could spend several days dropping heavy rain on the region – with some models forecasting as much as four feet of rain and more – leading to the suggestion that major evacuations are needed around Corpus Christi, Texas.
“If they’re asking you to evacuate and telling you to do it now – listen to their advice,” Bossert said, as he assured reporters that President Trump was ready for this storm, as were officials at the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
“The federal government has already pre-positioned all sorts of resources in the area,” Bossert said, as he told reporters that Texas Gov. Greg Abbot had already requested an emergency declaration from FEMA, which would free up disaster resources from the federal government even before the worst of the storm reaches the coast.
Mr. Trump planned to monitor the storm damage reports and the disaster relief work this weekend from Camp David; the White House said it expected the President would visit Texas early next week to see the damage first hand.