Northeast Texas prepares for Hurricane season
– Emergency crews not just along the coast but here locally are taking notice now that Hurricane season is upon us.
In 2008, thousands of evacuees sought shelter in Northeast Texas due to Hurricane's Gustav and Ike. Hunt County Emergency Management Coordinator Richard Hill says should the region need to house evacuees this year, they'd first report to a facility in Mesquite.
"All the buses are routed there, and that's where we try to track all the people that have been evacuated from the coastal areas. Then the assignment is made there as to which shelter area they go to." Hill said.
The City of Commerce alone housed over 300 evacuees at both Texas A&M University-Commerce and the Commerce Middle School in 2008. The 2011 Atlantic Seasonal Hurricane Forecast calls for more named storms this year than average.
If a hurricane is expected to make landfall, new rules enacted this season will allow coastal residents to be better informed.
"There's been a little bit of a change by 12 hours in the watch/warning lead times from what they use to be," Hill said. "Now the hurricane watches will be issued when hurricane conditions are possible along the coast within 48 hours."
Hill said emergency crews owe a lot to the American Red Cross for their efforts over the years, especially in a year that's already seen numerous areas devastated by tornadoes, wildfires and flooding.