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North Texas Prepares To Take In Evacuees From Hurricane Laura

MESQUITE, Texas (CBSDFW.COM) - Two evacuation centers have opened up in North Texas for residents fleeing Hurricane Laura.

Laura became a hurricane Tuesday morning and is expected to make landfall early Thursday over Southeast Texas and Southwest Louisiana as a major hurricane.

Hundreds of thousands of people have already been ordered to evacuate coastal areas in Texas and Louisiana.

During a news conference Tuesday, Abbott mentioned four evacuation centers that would be opening throughout the state, including two in North Texas that are expected to open at 7 p.m. Tuesday.

Those two centers are at the Mesquite Reception Center at 15515 E. I-20 in Mesquite and the Knights of Columbus Hall at 850 S. I-45 in Ennis (Ellis County).

City officials in Mesquite said its center will follow social distancing protocols with the pandemic still ongoing.

"Our goal is to provide temporary immediate assistance to evacuees," said Wayne Larson with the City of Mesquite.

"We have comfort accommodations. We have snacks and water, the ability to use the restroom," said Ennis Mayor Angie Juenemann.

Evacuees will be able to check in at the reception center for transportation to area hotels.

Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins and Fort Mayor Betsy Price both signed disaster declarations Tuesday to be able to offer hotel rooms, meals,and services to evacuees when, and if, they arrive.

The other two centers Abbott mentioned are in Austin at Circuit of the Americas and San Antonio at 254 Gembler Road.

"Hurricane Laura is rapidly intensifying and poses a major threat to communities in Southeast Texas and along the coast," Abbott said. "Texans in the path of this storm should waste no time preparing for the impact of Hurricane Laura and take immediate action to keep themselves and their loved ones safe. I urge our Southeast and coastal communities to heed the guidance of local officials, follow evacuation orders, and remain vigilant as we brace for the impact of Hurricane Laura. The State of Texas will continue to monitor this storm and provide the resources needed to keep Texans safe."

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