- Hurricane Laura made landfall in Louisiana near the Texas border early Thursday (8/27) morning as a Category 4 storm.
- The maximum sustained winds were 150 mph.
- It is tied for the strongest hurricane on record to ever hit the state.
- It has since been downgraded to a Category 2 hurricane as it moves inland through Eastern Texas and western Louisiana.
Evacuation at Circuit of the Americas:
Evacuees have been turned away due to the arena being “at capacity.”
At 11 a.m. Tuesday, COTA issued this statement:
“Due to exceeded demand for safe sheltering options from Hurricane Laura, Austin Area shelters hit capacity around 5:30 a.m. this morning. As of 10 a.m., this morning, Circuit of the Americas (COTA) has reopened as a rest area for evacuees,” the press release said. “Those seeking shelter from this weather event are welcome to wait at COTA to see when more hotel rooms become available. Once confirmed, shelter rooms will be on a first come first served. While at COTA, basic amenities will be provided. Those who do not wish to utilize COTA as a rest stop are encouraged to call 211 for assistance in identifying the next closest sheltering location.”
UPDATE: At 10 a.m., COTA reopened as a rest area for evacuees. However, officials once again directed evacuees to the Dallas area – Mesquite and Ennis, specifically – because all hotels reserved for evacuees in the Austin area reached capacity.
Other available Texas evacuation centers:
- San Antonio: 254 Gembler Road
- Dallas: the Mesquite Reception Center
- Ennis: the Knights of Columbus Hall at 850 S. Interstate 45
The Austin Convention Center, per KXAN, is being prepared to be a “traditional” evacuation shelter. The city hopes to have it open by either Wednesday night or Thursday morning. It will be able to house up to 135 shelter spaces in order to maintain social distancing guidelines, according to Ortiz. Although the center was prepared as a COVID-19 field hospital before, Ortiz says that part of the center won’t be impacted. Instead, they are using other areas of the convention center to house evacuees.”
How You Can Help
- Austin Disaster Relief Network is in the process of finding hotel rooms for Galveston evacuees and resources for them. To volunteer and find out more, click here. For more information on the ADRN response to Hurricane Laura, go to www.adrn.org.
- The Red Cross has already set up donations for those affected by the storm. To give to those who will be in need, click here.
- We Are Blood is preparing to help those in need if and when they are called upon. Donate this week to ensure Central Texas can lend aid to affected areas. To make an appointment and donate, click here.
We will continue to update this page as the storm develops.