7 p.m. update
Hidalgo County officials said the shelter inside the Weslaco High School gym has been moved to another location due to a power outage.
Those seeking shelter should instead head to the Palm Aire Hotel at 415 S. International Blvd. in Weslaco.
6 p.m. update
Weslaco City Manager Mike Perez said a car hit a light pole and caused a power outage at the shelter inside a Weslaco High School gym.
AEP crews cannot immediately fix the problem, so the Red Cross is looking at moving the shelter to another school, Perez said. Meanwhile, the organization is waiting to get approval to use another site.
5 p.m. update
The shelter inside a gym at Weslaco High School was experiencing a power outage shortly before 5 p.m. Saturday, according to a Monitor photojournalist who was inside the facility at the time.
City officials have yet to respond to a call for comment regarding the issue.
4 p.m. update
As Hurricane Hanna strengthened to a Category 1 storm and began to make its way onto land in Port Mansfield Saturday afternoon, officials in the Upper Rio Grande Valley began to open up emergency shelters for those who may become displaced by the storm.
City leaders in Weslaco have opened up the gym at Weslaco High School, City Manager Mike Perez said. Another shelter at the First Baptist Church was expected to open within the hour, he added about 2:30 p.m.
For residents who need temporary shelter but are also COVID-19 positive, Hidalgo County authorities are asking them to make their way to the Mercedes Safe Dome, 1202 N. Vermont St. in Mercedes. The shelter will open at 4 p.m.
“The Dome shall be the shelter for Covid-exposed families,” city officials said via a news release Saturday.
“Proper safety gear for staff and other safety measures shall be employed to make the facility and families as safe as possible,” the release states, adding that the facility is equipped for “basic sheltering, and not hospital-care sheltering.”
The city is also opening an additional shelter for non-COVID-19 exposed families at Chacon Middle School, 801 S. Mile 1 East Road.
Pets are prohibited at both Mercedes sites.
Hidalgo County Emergency Management Coordinator Ricardo “Rick” Saldaña confirmed the dome will be used to shelter COVID-19 positive evacuees.
In La Joya, officials there are asking residents in need of shelter to go to the La Joya Youth Center gym, located at 604 Salomon Chapa Dr.
La Joya asks residents who can drive to the shelter to do so, but if help is needed to evacuate, they may call (956) 400-6621, (956) 600-1822 or (956) 400-6147.
COVID-19 positive evacuees must bring medical documentation with them, and face masks are required for all seeking shelter.
All emergency shelters will require residents to wear facial coverings and adhere to guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention regarding social distancing in order to minimize the spread of COVID-19.
Information regarding the opening of additional emergency shelters should be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org.
This is a developing story.
In Pharr, residents can seek haven at the Pharr Development and Research Center, 850 W. Dicker Rd, officials said via Twitter. Those seeking shelter must bring food, medication, blankets and pillows, as well as proof of Pharr residency. Pets are not allowed.
Hidalgo County officials also indicated the McAllen Respite Center, 111 S. 15th St., and the Salvation Army, 1600 N. 23rd St., are also open. Masks are required.