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SE Texas agencies prepare for hurricane season amid COVID-19 pandemic

This year with the pandemic, operations have been more challenging as agencies prepare for a potential storm that could threaten Southeast Texas.

BEAUMONT, Texas — As our StormTracker team continues to monitor Cristobal's path, local agencies are working to get ahead of the potential storm despite some minor setbacks.

We are no strangers to hurricane threats in the Gulf. Each year local agencies try to get ahead when it comes to preparing.

But this year with the pandemic, operations have been a bit more challenging as agencies prepare for a potential storm that could threaten Southeast Texas.

It's a threat agencies like Tx-DOT, Drainage District 7 and Entergy prepare for year-round.

"During storms, we don't evacuate. We go on 12-hour shifts," Ronnie Hollier, a supervisor with Drainage District 7 said.

TxDOT spokesperson Sarah Dupre encourages everyone to make an evacuation route set. 

More | Hurricane evacuation map

"Being in Southeast Texas, we know that we have to be ready for any type of weather and our crews are prepared and ready should a storm head out way,"
Dupre said. 

Right now, the Texas Department of Transportation is busy clearing and widening ditches across Southeast Texas.

The agency also works with the Texas Department of Public Safety on evacuation routes..

"Just because you evacuated before doesn't mean that i still an official route. Definitely make sure you are up to date on the official routes," Dupre said.

Drainage District 7 is working to inspect floodgates, canals, and pump stations but COVID-19 is causing a few setback.

"It has made stuff a little harder because we have had to change the way we  work with our crews," Hollier said.

The pandemic is also causing Entergy to make a few adjustments.

Statement released by Entergy:

"Entergy Texas continues navigating through the COVID-19 pandemic by taking additional preparation steps. These include adjusting office settings and crew staging locations and increasing the use of drones to help team members maintain social distancing. Crews are encouraged to use stop-work authority if job conditions change that prevent social distancing."

Even in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, agencies say have a plan in place before a storm hits.

Another tool you can use is drivetexas.org. It shows you road closures and openings.

RELATED: Cristobal weakens over Mexico, all of Southeast Texas remains in the 'cone'

Credit: TExas DPS, TXDot

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