Sulphur Springs and Hopkins County Emergency Management officials, already working together due to COVID-19, are collaborating in a unified command to stay up-to-date with the National Weather Service and state reports regarding Hurricane Laura and respond accordingly.
Towns to the east of Hopkins County were expected to take the brunt of the hurricane, which had increased in intensity to a Category 4. Predictions for Hopkins County earlier this evening were for chances of high winds and localized flooding Thursday.
However, Sulphur Springs Police Chief/Emergency Management Coordinator Jason Ricketson said right now officials, like most Texans are waiting to see just how intense Laura remains after making landfall.
Ricketson reminds residents to be alert for potential flooding in Sulphur Springs and surrounding areas.
“There are a lot of places in town that do flood. Be mindful of them. We do our best to get to them and get up barricades, but can’t always,” Ricketson said. “If there’s high water, please don’t try to drive through it.”
The city’s water rescue team is reportedly on standby, available if needed to assist.
Many people along the storm’s path evacuated either voluntarily or by mandatory order to other towns. While some went to designated reception centers in Dallas, Austin, San Antonio and Ellis County, others are taking their chances driving inland, seeking whatever hotel lodging is available beyond Laura’s projected path.
As a result hotels and motels in many cities in East to Central Texas were filling up.
Officials at 5 p.m. Wednesday reported Sulphur Springs hotels and motels are “full for tonight and probably for several days to come,” as they wait out the storm. Hopkins County’s Emergency Management team said they were told by state official that there aren’t many hotel rooms available in other area towns and counties either.
As of this afternoon, local officials were not aware of any supply shortages in the area, but utility officials were preparing for the possibility Laura would knock out power in a large region.
Hopkins County Fire Chief/Emergency Management Coordinator Andy Endsley said Hopkins County, if requested, will mobilize to help neighboring counties to the east as needed.