AUSTIN, Texas - The Circuit of the Americas is no longer accepting Hurricane Laura evacuees.
Officials say that the Austin Police Department has shut down COTA because Austin is at capacity and is asking people to either find a hotel nearby or drive to an evacuee site in Mesquite.
Hurricane Laura is now a Category 3 storm and the Capital Area Shelter Hub Plan had been activated with Travis County preparing to receive as many as 3,000 evacuees from the Texas gulf coast.
COTA was designated as an intake facility processing evacuees and helping them find shelter.
Since COVID-19 hit, shelters in central Texas operations have been changed. Instead of housing evacuees in school buildings or convention centers, people will be sheltered in hotels and motels. Travis County has a list of 15 places they’ve identified as emergency shelters; some evacuees will also be housed in Hays and Williamson counties.
More than 385,000 residents were told to flee the Texas cities of Beaumont, Galveston and Port Arthur.
Depending on how hard Hurricane Laura hits the Gulf Coast, evacuees may be in Austin and the surrounding area for a few days or weeks.
For more evacuee information from the City of Austin you can go here.
Laura is rapidly strengthening over the central Gulf of Mexico and FOX 7 Austin Good Day Austin meteorologist Zack Shields says Laura could become a Category 4 sometime today.
Models are converging on that Laura will make a landfall point tonight near the Texas/Louisiana border as a very powerful hurricane with potentially devastating wind impacts in the eye wall and life threatening storm surge to that region. The main impacts will remain well east of our region.
Across some portions of South-Central Texas, isolated to scattered showers and storms are possible today and Thursday in outer bands. Less than one inch of rain is forecast.
Zack and the rest of the FOX 7 Austin Weather Team will continue to monitor changing forecasts closely and provide updates on-air, online, and on social media.
Track your local forecast for the Austin area quickly with the free FOX 7 WAPP. The design gives you radar, hourly, and 7-day weather information just by scrolling. Our weather alerts will warn you early and help you stay safe during storms.