From the City of Tyler
TYLER, Texas - On Wednesday, Aug. 26, the City of Tyler and Smith County issued disaster declarations in preparation for Hurricane Laura and announced plans to activate a partial Emergency Operation Center (EOC) on Thursday at 7:30 a.m. to handle the local emergency response.
The Texas Division of Emergency Management has asked the City of Tyler and Smith County to not open any shelters here. This area will not be an evacuation route for people fleeing the path of the hurricane because there is potential for severe weather here. San Antonio, Austin and DFW (Mesquite and Ennis) and shelters located there have been designated by the State of Texas as the primary point for evacuation and sheltering needs for this region.
Although not a designated evacuation point, because it is in the projected path of the storm, the City of Tyler, has received several self-evacuated families. At this time, the City of Tyler’s hotels are at 100% occupancy.
Evacuees are encouraged to call 2-1-1 for a complete list of area resources.
“Right now, we are focused on preparing for rain and wind damage, including downed trees on roadways, electricity outages from high winds and high water over roads,” said Smith County Judge Nathaniel Moran, who serves as the Emergency Management Director for the County.
For any non-emergency situation involving county roads, downed trees and bridges, contact Smith County Dispatch at (903) 566-6600.
Those inside City limits should contact The City of Tyler Streets Department at (903) 531-1393 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday to report flooded streets, potholes, sinkholes, downed trees, stormwater issues and drainage issues.
Contact the Tyler Police Department’s non-emergency line at (903) 531-1000 during off-duty hours.
Residents are encouraged to stay at home if possible and not to attempt to drive on water-covered roadways.
“In situations like this, we remind people to ‘turn around, don’t drown,’” said Fire Chief David Coble. “Cars should not travel over moving water. Even a few inches of water can be dangerous and sweep a car off the street.”
When asked by county officials, the North East Texas Regional Mobility Authority (NET RMA) quickly agreed to suspend toll charges on Loop 49 for westbound and northbound traffic, from noon Wednesday to noon Friday, to try and help alleviate traffic through Tyler of hurricane evacuees moving through the area.
Judge Moran thanked NET RMA Interim Director Everett Owen and Board Vice-Chairman Gary Halbrooks for their speedy response to help with the flow of traffic.
“It’s these types of coordinated emergency management response efforts that make a real difference,” Moran said.
All essential city services, including trash-pickup and transit services, will continue to operate. The City of Tyler will close public-facing facilities, including the Tyler Public Library, Glass Recreation Center and the Rose Garden Center, on Thursday for the duration of the storm.
Smith County will also continue essential operations and services.