Emergency crews prepare for Hurricane IKE

More than a week after Hurricane Gustav slammed into the Gulf Coast, evacuees who fled to several parts of the country, including Hunt County, are back home assessing the damage.

As of Wednesday, the nearly 150 evacuees that were in Commerce to escape the storm had returned home. During the event, Commerce Emergency Management, Hunt County Emergency Management, the American Red Cross, Commerce Independent School District, and Texas A&M University-Commerce fully staffed the Emergency Operations Center to assist those seeking shelter.

107 were reported to have stayed at Commerce Hotels, while roughly 35 evacuees were sheltered in both the Commerce Middle School Gym and Berry Hall on the A&M-Commerce campus.

Before evacuees began arriving in Hunt County, the American Red Cross held a session to train volunteers to assist at the shelters. Approximately 40 area residents attended the training, aiding in caring for hurricane victims.

Area emergency crews have been advised to be on standby for Hurricane IKE, which if continues along its current path, could make landfall sometime this weekend along the Gulf Coast. As of Monday morning, according to the National Weather Service, IKE's maximum sustained wind speed was measured at 105 mph.

According to Commerce Emergency Management Coordinator Steve Harrison, area emergency crews are already in talks with A&M-Commerce and the Commerce Independent School District on plans to assist evacuees if need be.