Updated 12:45 p.m. CDT Sunday
The National Hurricane Center has updated the projected path of Tropical Storm Marco to show the storm hitting the southeastern coast of Louisiana as a Category 1 hurricane Monday evening before heading into Texas by Wednesday.
Beaches with increased surf, higher water levels, and a larger rip current risk are all expected on the Louisiana coast starting Monday night.
A second system, Tropical Storm Laura, is on track to hit Texas and Louisiana by Thursday morning, with water levels rising on Wednesday.
In an update Sunday morning, forecasters at the National Weather Service Houston/Galveston office laid out areas of greatest risk for storm surge from Laura in the Houston area — low lying areas near Galveston Bay, Bolivar Peninsula, and the bay side of Galveston Island.
— NWS Houston (@NWSHouston) August 23, 2020
Galveston County officials are not expecting widespread evacuations except for potentially Bolivar Peninsula, County Judge Mark Henry said at a media briefing Saturday afternoon. Officials are not expecting ferry service to be shut down because of Marco.
The coronavirus pandemic has complicated evacuation plans. Normally evacuation buses can carry up to 45 people, but the county is now limited to 15 people per bus due to social distancing requirements. However, Henry said the state government has committed to provide 100 buses to Galveston County, allowing local officials to potentially evacuate more people than they ever have before.
The county also has a contract to use Clear Creek Independent School District buses. Evacuees from Galveston County would be taken to Austin, Henry said.
“The challenge has been our evacuation plan. I think we have a little more confidence now,” he said.
Emergency management officials in Harris County plan to give an update on Sunday afternoon.
Gov. Greg Abbott has an update on the state’s response scheduled for Sunday afternoon as well.