Texas prepares for gulf storm

Video monitors at the state emergency operations center Wednesday morning were filled with images of a storm heading toward the Texas and Louisiana state line. 

The threat prompted Gov. Greg Abbott to call a meeting at DPS Headquarters in North Austin. 

"We are in it for one single reason, and that is for the people of this state," Abbott said.

As Abbott directed officials from several state agencies to prepare for a storm, streets were already flooding in New Orleans. There's concern a similar scene could happen, from Beaumont to Longview, if the storm slides west into Texas.

"It is impossible right now to know exactly how severe this storm will become and where it will go," Abbott said.

With the storm track uncertain, a full scale staging of emergency responders has not yet been ordered. But equipment, high profile vehicles, boats and helicopters, are being readied for a deployment order.

"We want to make sure the state of Texas can do all we can to prepare in advance of this storm," Abbott said.

Possible evacuation centers in several urban centers are also being identified by Health and Human Services. 

The quick spin up is part of the recommendations from a study made after Hurricane Harvey, which includes a streamlining and reorganization of emergency management that was authorized during the recent legislative session.

State officials also want to coordinate any type of rescue operation done by private individuals in their personal watercraft. In the early days after Hurricane Harvey hit, the large number of private boats in the floodwaters was somewhat of a problem.

"There is a huge volunteer resource group out there, our request, and what I need your help in pushing out is to get those people may think they want to spontaneously volunteer, to go and partner with an existing VOAG, Volunteer Organization that is active in disaster that’s the fastest way to get in and help and serve others,” said Chief Nim Kidd, head of Texas Emergency Management and Vice Chancellor for Disaster & Emergency Services.

Abbott also urged local officials start preparing. He suggested they line up contracts now for things like damage removal services, as well as recovery programs to help rebuild. 

"I am confident we are better prepared than we've ever been, for any type of storm, I’m equally confident you are never 100% prepared for everything that may happen,” Abbott said.