University is ready to assist hurricane evacuees

John Parsons, Editor

GIF of day 1-3 rainfall forecast by National Hurricane Center

Derek Preas, director, campus operations & safety, has been in contact with Texas Division of Emergency Management officials regarding the university’s ability and willingness to assist people evacuating from Hurricane Laura.

The emergency situation is ongoing so plans have to remain flexible.

Commerce has a small chance of receiving tropical storm force winds through Thursday according to

“Covid-19 has complicated evacuation efforts by increasing the need for isolated rooms and bathrooms,” Preas said. “TDEM and hotels in the larger regions of the state are currently meeting the needs of evacuees.”

Texas A&M University-Commerce has primarily community-style accommodations so it is not the preferred setting.

“Hurricane Laura is a Category 4 and continues to strengthen as it heads for a destructive landfall near the Texas and Louisiana border Wednesday night into early Thursday morning. A catastrophic storm surge and damaging winds will batter the region and a threat of flooding rain and strong winds will extend well inland,” according to The Weather Channel.

The hurricane has maximum sustained winds of 145 mph and is located about 130 miles south-southeast of Port Arthur, Texas according to a 6 p.m. update by the National Hurricane Center.

The Weather Channel has updated information to indicate that Laura is just seven mph shy of reaching Cat 5 which requires winds of 157 mph.

Storm surge could penetrate as much as 30 miles inland in southwest Louisiana,” according to “Isolated tornadoes are also expected from Laura.”

TDEM has established reception centers for evacuees in Mesquite, Ennis, Austin and San Antonio according to the Texas Hurricane Center.

Preas offered the university’s assistance and resources to TDEM but has not received a request for them.

Information regarding what to do before, during and after a storm can be found at