AUSTIN, Texas – A light rain fell over the Texas Capitol dome Tuesday afternoon.
But the real focus is on a disturbance forming near the Yucatan and another behind it. The state operations center went into Stage 3 preparedness at noon.
The ramp up. Among those called in; specialist with the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department. Boat crews have been deployed to south Texas; TPWD Col. Grahame Jones sent pictures to FOX-7 Austin from a staging area in Rockport.
“So we have our search and rescue team, and also our local Game Wardens and they work hand in hand. The search and rescue team is a statewide asset that we move and pre-stage ahead of the storm,” said Col. Jones.
Members of Texas Task Force 1 were also activated. Units started rolling out to south Texas Monday night. 16 team members, including an Austin fire fighter, left Tuesday for the Carolinas. That deployment is in response to Hurricane Florence. Another team was sent to Hawaii as a storm moved in there.
“We currently have 24 in play, and we are bringing another 160 people into an alert status to be prepared to respond to the tropical weather system expected for South and central Texas. So we are prepared to respond 14 to 21 days before we have to rotate personnel in, our missing is always to help the local jurisdictions until they no longer require our assistance,” said Stephen Bjune a spokesperson for Texas Task Force 1.
For many of the first responders the activation is a continuation. A lot of them were called up last week. Swift water rescues took place in places near Uvalde and San Saba. Flash flooding caught people by surprise. The equipment and personnel used last week – could have to cover an even wider area. The crisis last year caused by Hurricane Harvey is still fresh in everyone’s mind.
“We had over 300 Game Wardens that respond last year, we evacuated 12,000 Texans, so we’re use to this, we’ve been doing this for a 100 years, we’re prepared we are ready,” said Col. Jones.
While first responders are getting ready authorities are also encouraging residents across Texas to start getting prepared. The warning is not just for those who live along the coastline, but for all of Texas.