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The projected path of Hurricane Laura, as reported by the National Weather Service on Weds., Aug. 26. (National Weather Service)

TMC institutions prepare for Hurricane Laura

Hospitals, clinics and universities are shifting schedules in anticipation of weather

TMC institutions prepare for Hurricane Laura

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Hurricane Laura, now gathering strength in the Gulf of Mexico, is expected to make landfall in the wee hours of Thursday morning.

While the most current projections show that Laura will come ashore just east of the Texas-Louisiana border, many Texas Medical Center institutions have altered operations in preparation for the impending weather:

HARRIS HEALTH SYSTEM: Harris Health System closed all of its outpatient healthcare facilities at noon today ahead of the possible landfall of Hurricane Laura. All facilities will remain closed on Thurs., Aug. 27.  Patients will be contacted directly to reschedule appointments. For information about Harris Health closures, visit or the Harris Health social media sites of Twitter or Facebook.

List of facility closures: Acres Home Health Center, Aldine Health Center, Ambulatory Surgical Center at LBJ, Baytown Health Center, Ben Taub Tower, Casa de Amigos Health Center, Cypress Health Center, Danny Jackson Health Center, El Franco Lee Health Center, Gulfgate Health Center,  Harris Health Dental Center, Martin Luther King Jr. Health Center, Margo Hilliard Alford Clinic, Monroe   Clinic, Northwest Health Center, Pediatric & Adolescent Health Center–Bear Creek, Pediatric and Adolescent Health Center–C.E. Odom, Pediatric and Adolescent Health Center–Pasadena, Quentin Mease Building, Riverside Dialysis Center, Robindell Clinic, Sareen Clinic at India House, Settegast Health Center, Smith Clinic, Squatty Lyons Health Center, Strawberry Health Center, Sunset Heights Clinic, Thomas Street Health Center and Vallbona Health Center.

HOUSTON METHODIST: Scheduled procedures and services are canceled on Thurs., Aug. 27, in anticipation of Hurricane Laura. All medical office buildings will be closed, too. Houston Methodist doctors are transitioning regular visits to virtual visits and hospital administrators are in the process of contacting patients with instructions. There will be no COVID-19 testing on Thurs., Aug 27.

MCGOVERN MEDICAL SCHOOL: McGovern Medical School will close its flood doors at 1 p.m. today, as Hurricane Laura approaches. The doors are part of the building’s renovations after Tropical Storm Allison in 2001 caused multimillion-dollar damage to the school. Three layers of flood protection were installed:

  • An outer berm with water collection pits and pumps
  • A hydrostatic wall that provides protection 1 foot above the 500-year flood level
  • 23 outer and inner flood doors at McGovern Medical School

Each door is designed to be able to be closed by one person in less than 5 minutes. Upon closure, dual gasket seals are inflated to provide a water-tight seal. The status of the doors can be monitored remotely via computer linkages through the building’s automation system. The doors are closed 8 hours before landfall in Galveston or when the indicator goes to “orange.”

MD ANDERSON CANCER CENTER: MD Anderson will be closed for clinic and treatment appointments on Thurs., Aug. 27. The League City location also will be closed on Fri., Aug. 28.

MEMORIAL HERMANN: The hospital system has postponed elective, non-urgent surgeries and procedures beginning the afternoon of Weds, Aug. 26, through end of day Thurs., Aug. 27. This will allow the  system to more fully focus on and prepare to meet the immediate, urgent needs of its community before and during the impending storm. Memorial Hermann plans to resume all elective, non-urgent surgeries and procedures at all facilities on Fri., Aug. 28, unless otherwise noted.

For the safety of patients and employees, Memorial Hermann would like to help keep Houstonians off the roads during the inclement weather unless absolutely necessary. For this reason, a number of Memorial Hermann outpatient facilities will temporarily close, with plans to reopen on Fri., Aug. 28.

 To view the system’s real-time updates, visit and click on the red “Emergency Information: Severe Weather” ticker at the top of the home page or go directly to our Emergency Information: Severe Weather website. Memorial Hermann will provide additional updates as they occur on its websiteFacebook page and Twitter account.

MICHAEL E. DEBAKEY VA MEDICAL CENTER: The VA Outpatient Clinics in Beaumont, Galveston, Texas City and Lake Jackson will be closed through Thurs., Aug. 27. Staff are calling veterans to reschedule visits or conduct them virtually, as necessary. The main facility and all other VA Outpatient Clinics will remain under normal operations.

RICE UNIVERSITY: Due to Hurricane Laura, Rice University is suspending normal operations – including all classes and events – at 5 p.m. today and all day Thurs., Aug. 27. All academic activities will be discontinued during this period. Academic buildings along with other major venues, including Fondren Library, Gibbs Recreation Center and Rice Memorial Center, will be closed to all but essential employees. Only essential personnel will be allowed in labs. All gated entrances to the campus will be closed at 5 p.m. with the exception of Entrance 8 (at the intersection of University Blvd. and Stockton Dr.) and Entrance 20 (at the intersection of Rice Blvd. and Kent St.).

TEXAS CHILDREN’S HOSPITAL: Texas Children’s Hospital’s Medical Center Campus: All outpatient clinic appointments scheduled for today in Mark A. Wallace Tower will be converted to a video visit or rescheduled. All surgical cases and all other outpatient appointments at Legacy Tower will proceed as scheduled today.

Texas Children’s Pavilion for Women: All surgical cases and all other outpatient appointments at the Pavilion for Women will proceed as scheduled today.

Texas Children’s Hospital West Campus: All outpatient clinic appointments scheduled for today at Texas Children’s Hospital West Campus will be converted to a video visit or rescheduled. All surgical cases at West Campus will proceed as scheduled today.

Texas Children’s Hospital The Woodlands Campus: All surgical cases and all other outpatient appointments at The Woodlands will proceed as scheduled today.

Texas Children’s Pediatrics locations: All Houston-area locations will close at noon today. Thurs., Aug. 27, is TBA.

Texas Children’s Urgent Care locations: Main & West Campus locations will be open from 11 a.m. – 4 p.m. today. All other locations will be closed. Thurs., Aug. 27, is TBA.

Texas Children’s Specialty Care locations: Sugarland, Bellaire, Cy-Fair, Eagle Spring, and Upper Kirby open today. Closed today is Clear Lake and Kingwood. All these locations closed Thurs., Aug. 27.

The Centers for Children and Women: Both locations will close beginning 5 p.m. today and remain closed Thurs., Aug. 27.

UTHEALTH: The University of Texas Health Science Center has cancelled all in-person and online classes for today through Fri., Aug. 28. UTHealth clinic-based employees, residents and students with UT Physicians, UT Dentists, the UTHealth Harris County Psychiatric Center and hospital partners are advised to monitor email and phones for instructions.

UTMB (University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston): UTMB is on emergency status. Elective surgeries and procedures at all UTMB facilities have been cancelled and patients are being notified. All UTMB clinics are closed for the remainder of the week. Urgent Care and Tier One clinics are scheduled to open Fri., Aug. 28, if conditions allow. Visitation at all UTMB hospitals has been suspended; limited visitation may resume Friday if conditions allow.

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