Voluntary Evacuation of Bolivar Starts Friday

Galveston County has issued a voluntary evacuation for residents on Bolivar Peninsula effective at 8 a.m. Friday in advance of Hurricane Harvey.

This order includes the unincorporated areas of Port Bolivar, Crystal Beach, High Island and Gilchrist.

"Residents who rely on medical assistance or those who cannot go without power for an extended period of time are encouraged to leave,"  Galveston County Judge Mark Henry said in a statement Thursday.

National Weather Service forecasts have predicted at least 15 inches of rain, with some isolated areas expected to see 20 inches. Heavy rainfall combined with high tides and winds could hinder transportation to and from the peninsula. Power outages are also possible as a result of high winds.

Henry has warned residents of the area they might find themselves isolated as the heaviest winds and rains wash ashore, which could cut people off from emergency services. The order will remain in effect through the weekend.

The combination of high winds and tides may also force the temporary disruption of the Bolivar Ferry raising the possibility the area could be cut off during the storm. TxDOT will decide whether to suspend service if tides reach more than 4.5 ft. or winds reach more than 45 mph. As of noon Thursday, ferry services were still running.

“The voluntary evacuation order is intended to alert residents of Bolivar Peninsula that emergency responders may be unable to reach them,” Henry said. “Elderly residents and people with medical conditions should make plans to leave if they cannot be without power for possibly a few days.”

Henry said the decision was based on the forecast as of Thursday, but is subject to change.

"All low-lying areas are subject to flooding," Henry said. "Stay tuned to local news media for up-to-date coverage."

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