ORANGE, Texas — Southeast Texas city officials are gearing up to ensure the safety of their community members ahead of Hurricane Nicholas.
In Orange County, the Office of Emergency Management has set up four locations to fill up on sandbags. City officials ask that residents bring their own shovels.
Sandbags will be available for Orange County residents at the Maintenance barn, located on North Highway 87 at North Teal; the County Maintenance barn, located on 2502 West Roundbunch Road; the County Maintenance barn, located on 375 Claiborne Street; and at 11897 State Highway 62 in Mauriceville, directly across from Market Basket on Highway 62
Orange County residents said that after losing cars and homes in past storms like Harvey and Imelda, they are making sure they prepare early to protect their belongings this time around. Orange County community members went to the Maintenance barn off Claiborne Street Sunday afternoon to stock up on sandbags.
“We're trying to get prepared and make sure we have enough bags and, uh, keep the water down as much as we can,” James Odom, Vidor resident, said,
Odom, like other Orange County residents, is no stranger to storms and said that each one has to be taken seriously.
“We've flooded quite a few times in these last storms so (you) can't be too cautious,” Odom said. “We're taking, uh, get all the bags we can I guess."
After losing everything during Harvey, Odom said he is quick to prepare when the forecast shows heavy rains.
“Oh yeah, we don't want any more of that,” Odom said. “It's devastating when it happens. It's just a lot of work and a lot of heartache and we don't want no more.”
Odom appreciates everything Orange County is doing, including city officials’ efforts in clearing ditches to prevent another Harvey-like flood. City officials have been monitoring the storm closely and encourage residents to do the same.
“This is one of those systems that if it becomes something worse, it's going to be too late to do any kind of mandatory evacuation for it, because it's not anything now that we would ever call that for," John Gothia, Orange County judge, said.
The primary threat with Tropical Storm Nicholas seems to be the heavy rain it is forecast to bring, Gothia said.
“They're calling for somewhere between possibly 20, 30 inches of rainfall total in certain areas over the course of the next three days,” Gothia said.
Along with providing the community with sandbags, the county is looking into potential shelter locations. Gothia is urging residents to use their best judgement while preparing for this storm.
“You know where you live,” Gothia said. “You know the area you're in. You know if it has the potential to flood with these kind of rain events."
Judge Gothia is encouraging members of the community, especially those in low-lying areas, to prepare now and protect their homes.