By Dave Rogers

For The Record

 

Despite the uncertainty caused by the path of Hurricane Harvey, all five Orange County school districts are still planning to open their doors on schedule Monday morning.

That was the announcement at supper time Friday, coming during a meeting of emergency preparedness officials at the Orange County Emergency Operations Center in which a new National Weather Service forecast seemed to downgrade threats of flooding and storm surge from the storm that is expected to make landfall near Corpus Christi as a Category Three hurricane later tonight.

“We’re waiting until Sunday to make the call,” Orangefield superintendent Stephen Patterson said of whether or not to cancel Monday’s classes.

They were to be the first of the school year for all the Orange County district except Bridge City.

Initially, Patterson indicated plans were to meet with leaders of the Bridge City, Little Cypress-Mauriceville, Vidor and West Orange-Cove districts Sunday afternoon for a group decision. Then, he decided, he shouldn’t speak for the others.

“I can tell you there are no public school closures planned at this time.”

Lamar State College-Orange announced Friday it will be closed both Monday and Tuesday and Orange County’s offices will be closed Monday with the exception of Emergency Management, Orange County Sheriff’s Office and Jail.

While county officials will continue to monitor the situation with input from national and state organizations, Orange County has not called for an evacuation at this time.

“Orange County has not and is not issuing a disaster declaration,” said Stephen Brint Carlton, County Judge.

“We’re going to hold off. I talked to representatives of some of the cities and they’re of a similar mindset.”

Meteorologist Roger Erickson said the latest forecast was for the storm to weaken and stall after making landfall in South Texas, then to “bounce” back up the coastline to Houston at midweek.

Erickson predicted Orange County could get a “long duration” of rain, 7 inches from Friday night to Monday night, 5 more inches between Monday night and Wednesday night, then 2 more inches by the end of next week.

He predicted one to three feet of flooding in coastal waters, with the highest coming at high tides Friday through Sunday nights.

Emergency officials will conduct a conference call with state officials Saturday morning, then get a couple of weather updates from NWS through the day.

“We’ll continue to monitor things over the weekend,” Carlton said.

Orange County residents are encouraged to closely monitor the situation by visiting the National Weather Center or the National Hurricane Center online at http://www.weather.gov/srh/ and http://www.nhc.noaa/gov/news/AL092017_key_messages.png

Orange County residents are encouraged to closely monitor the situation by visiting the National Weather Center or the National Hurricane Center online at http://www.weather.gov/srh/ and http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/news/AL092017_key_messages.png

County Engineer Clark Slacum said Orange County had obtained an additional 100,000 sand bags after distributing about 75,000 Friday.

All sites will be open through the weekend, unless otherwise noted.

Precinct 1 Road & Bridge Barn, North Texas 87 at North Teal, Orange — pre-filled sandbags available for senior citizens and disabled residents

Precinct 2 Road & Bridge Barn, 2600 Lawrence Road, Orange — between 7:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. only.

Commissioner Precinct 2 Office, 11867 Texas 62 North, Orange.

Precinct 3 Road & Bridge Barn, 2502 W. Roundbunch Road, Orange

Precinct 4 Road & Bridge Barn, 375 Claiborne Street, Vidor;  pre-filled sandbags available for senior citizens and disabled residents.

Orange County Drainage District, 8081 Old Hwy 90, Orange.

Memorial Field, Eddleman Drive near Meeks Drive, Orange.

Bridge City Sewer Plant, 297 Bower, Bridge City; between 8:00 am – 5:00 pm only; Bridge City residents only.

Wesco Little League Park, corner of Burnett & Newton Streets, West Orange; 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.; West Orange residents only.

Operations & Maintenance building, 3000 Gull Street, Pinehurst: 9:00 a.m. to 4 p.m.