Parts of Brazoria County under mandatory evacuation as Harvey approaches

SURFSIDE, Texas (KTRK) -- Lake Jackson Mayor Joe Rinehart has issued a disaster declaration ahead of Hurricane Harvey's. The city will open its Emergency Operations Center at 6 p.m. on Friday, and it will remain open until the storm passes.

Elsewhere around Brazoria County, a mandatory evacuation is in place for coastal communities along the Gulf side of the Intracoastal Canal.

The order includes Surfside Beach, where residents are being asked to leave by noon Friday. The water system will be shut down by then and there will be no re-entry after dark, according to an email alert from the mayor.

Residents like Randy Ramirez were packing up Thursday afternoon.

"We were here for Ike, so we lost quite a bit in the wake of it," Ramirez said. "We didn't know what the water damage was going to be, so we evacuated, and by then it was too late to grab anything, so we lost quite a bit."

Ramirez and his family loaded golf carts and other equipment onto a trailer to safely store elsewhere.

Brazoria County Judge Matt Sebesta said residents need to watch the weather closely and evacuate if required or asked to do so.

"Be prepared. We don't know what this thing is going to do," Sebesta said.

People packed gas stations, secured business and filled water jugs.

"I'm a little concerned. I don't know what's going to happen," Rene Monsivais said as he bought water.

Rain and flooding are almost certain, forcing even longtime coastal residents to pay attention.

"You can feel the wind picking up. Right now this is nothing compared to what's going to happen," said Robert Bechlem, a Surfside resident for 14 years. "This is a serious storm and I think everyone needs to pay attention."

A 6- to 10-foot storm surge is expected. There are about 4,000 residents in the mandatory evacuation area.

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