As Hurricane Harvey looms over the Texas coast, Gov. Greg Abbott made a plea to residents in the path of the storm to think about their lives first and properties second, as local officials continue urging people to evacuate.
In a statement, Abbott asked people to strongly consider all voluntary evacuation orders and "strictly comply" with mandatory evacuation orders because the remnants of Hurricane Harvey are expected to hover and could potentially drop large amounts of rain on "miles upon miles of Texas".
"You have the power and ability right now to be able to avoid being stuck in a search and rescue situation," Abbott said. "If you make the decision to get out of harm's way before it's too late."
Those in the Houston area, Corpus Christi, and other communities along the Gulf Coast should definitely take note of warnings, Abbott said, because they are at the greatest risk to be impacted by the severe weather. Record level flooding is expected at multiple locations, Abbott said.
Abbott said in a press conference that he issued a major disaster declaration to President Donald Trump ahead of Hurricane Harvey. According to KVUE's and the Austin American-Statesman's Tony Plohetski, the money would go toward areas heavily damaged during the storm.
"My office is coordinating local, state and federal resources to prepare for and respond decisively to this storm—Texans must also take action and treat this storm seriously," Abbott said in a statement.
While areas like Houston are not under mandatory evacuation orders, Abbott said it's best people not take their chances with the after effects of the hurricane, which is predicted to bring heavy flooding to some areas.
"I would urge people to strongly consider the evacuation process because there is possibility without probability," he said. "There are a lot of people that are going to go along time without access to basic necessities and without access to water, power and food."
Abbott added that Texas is capable of housing more than $41,000 evacuees at shelters if needed. All state parks will be open to evacuees as well, and there won't be a charge during this emergency time period. The Texas Department of Emergency Management has deployed 500 buses to help people without a mode of transportation. Abbott said people should contact local emergency management or law enforcement to find one of the buses.
People who are undocumented won't be checked for identification at shelters, Abbott said.
"Our main focus here in a situation like this is the safety and security and protection of life," Abbott said. "We're going to do everything we can to make sure everybody is safe."