Evacuation order lifted for Jefferson Co., cities

The SE Texas Record Sep. 19, 2008, 2:00pm

Jefferson County Judge Ron Walker announced that the Mandatory Evacuation Order issued on Sept. 11 will be terminated effective at 6 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 20.

Each city within Jefferson County will also be rescinding their respective evacuation orders, according to a press release.

Regarding special needs citizens, emergency managers for the county and cities will be working with the state of Texas to coordinate their return. Each municipality will be contacting their respective point-to-point shelters to facilitate such return.

The curfew for unincorporated areas of Jefferson County will be in effect between the hours of 11 p.m. and 5 a.m. As of Sept. 20, the city of Beaumont and the city of Nederland curfew hours are also 11 p.m. to 5 a.m. The cities of Port Arthur and Groves have and 8 p.m. to 6 a.m. curfew, while the Port Neches curfew is from dusk to dawn.

The "Boil Water" notice was also lifted for the city of Beaumont on Sept. 20.

Jefferson County operations have not yet resumed normal operations. County employees are asked to monitor the Jefferson County Web site and their county e-mail account for information about returning to work.

"Although the county evacuation order is being rescinded, residents are cautioned to exercise discretion in making the decision about whether to return," Walker said. "Great strides have been made in the recovery efforts due to the heroic and ceaseless efforts of thousands of first responders in our area. However, there still exist numerous obstacles to complete restoration.

"We remain with limited food, fuel, medical and retail resources and living conditions are not as they were when our citizens evacuated. The fuel resources are severely strained and returning residents may face the unavailability of gasoline. Several municipalities have boil restrictions in place for their water supplies, some sewer systems are operating below capacity, and power remains out in many areas despite the hard work and dedication of utility workers from our area and around the nation. Additionally, many traffic signals remain damaged or without power. For this reason, residents are strongly urged to stop and exercise extreme caution when approaching intersections.

"Obviously, our area has suffered a catastrophic event. Citizens are reminded to exercise restraint and patience during the recovery efforts as it will take some time before all public services return to normal. All your local governments remain committed to working with citizens, local utility providers, state and federal authorities and disaster remediation contractors to assist in restoring our area as quickly as is possible under the circumstances. I have no doubt that the people of southeast Texas will pull together, as they have in the past, to assist in this effort."

More News