New Hurricane Law in Texas

A new state law in the state of Texas [article link] now gives police the power to force evacuations when deemed mandatory by the governor. The law goes into effect Septemeber 1 of this year, which is the very heart of the hurricane season. Although arrests are unlikely with police having to deal with potential looters during an evacuation, they do now have the authority to arrest those who refuse to leave.

I have mixed feelings about this new law in Texas. I live right in the middle of hurricane ally here on the gulf coast (Mobile, AL). Depending upon what category the storm is and if we are east or west of the hurricane's eye, I usually just stay put. If we are west of the eye and it is Cat II or more, I probably would leave. I stayed during Katrina and that was enough to put the fear of God into me. Like so many people along the gulf, we look nervously toward the gulf this time of year, especially in August and September. That is when the gulf is at its absolute warmest level. If a tropical storm or Cat I hurricane comes into the gulf this time of year, it will blow up quickly as we saw with Katrina and Wilma.

But, the idea of being forced out of my home by the state is something that really bothers me. I mean, I can see on one hand their logic. They don't want to send police in harms way to rescue people who refused orders to leave when they had the chance. I understand this. However, it's my property and my home that is in danger, and if something happens to me, I have no one to blame but myself. In most cases, however, I would obey a mandatory evacuation. They don't make mandatory evacuations lightly. That means a severe hurricane is making a dead aim on our city. That's usually time to leave. If you don't, you have to accept the consequences.

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As far as being in a hurricane path, I'm in a similar boat (erm, no pun intended). I'm just north of Houston, so this law could affect me. But having seen the dirty side of Ike when it came through, I do see some advantages in requiring folks to leave: it's one thing to have your house and property ripped apart by a storm, then another thing completely to be without power for a week in the Texas heat, or having to stand in line for hours at the local grocery store.

Following Ike (and Rita) the next hurricane that even comes remotely close and I'm out of here.

Hmm...That's a hard one...I understand the need, but private property is private property..and what Rob says makes sense too...Hmmm

Rob, it appears you and I are in the same boat (pun definitely intended) insofar as hurricane season. As I said, I have mixed feelings about this new Texas law. It is just more intrusion into the lives of private citizens, much in the same way it is mandatory for everyone to use seat belts. Now, I think the seat belt law is good. But, for the state or federal government to make it into a law...I mean people have a right to be stupid. They have the right to smoke cigarettes and kill themselves. I just worry about laws like this one in Texas now, good intentioned though it be.

Mike, come on!!! We aren't going to argue about this??? ;-) I'll just have to think up something to rile you up. Seriously, I'm not sure how this law will hold up in court. What if people are arrested, forced out of their homes and then the homeowners come back to find their home looted? Does the state of Texas reimburse the homeowners? The state would not and then you have lawsuits up the kazoo.

This really sounds to me like Big Brother over stepping his boundaries. It's our property. We should not be forced out.

Besides, it's ridiculous. Law Enforcement/National Guard doesn't have the people power to enforce.

Andy, it's like the US Supreme Court ruling on eminent domain...your land really isn't your land. It belongs to the government if the government deems it necessary. The days of being a "private citizen" are virtually at an end.

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