TEXAS: Gov. Greg Abbott Contradicts Local Emergency Experts And Urges Houston Residents To Flee Hurricane

The Houston Chronicle reports:

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott gave evacuation advice Friday afternoon that conflicts with the advice of Houston area elected officials and emergency management experts ahead of Hurricane Harvey.

“Even if an evacuation order has not been issued by your local official, if you are in areas by Corpus Christi and Houston … you need to strongly consider evacuating,” Abbott said at a news conference about 1 p.m. Friday.

“If I were living in the Houston region, as I once did, I would decide to head to areas north of there,” he added. “Think of your life first.” However, local officials have been adamant that most area residents do not need to evacuate since the area will likely be hit by rain and flooding but not hurricane winds.

Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner tweeted shortly after Abbott’s pronouncement, “Please think twice before trying to leave Houston en masse. No evacuation orders have been issued for the city.”

Francisco Sanchez, the spokesman for the Harris County Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Management, tweeted, “Local officials know best. Houston has no evacuation order. In Harris County: very limited to select communities. LOCAL LEADERS KNOW BEST.”