Gustav: Local Officials Prepare for the Worst

As Texas residents pay nervous attention to Gustav, officials are mobilizing resources to prepare for the worst. It’s too early to tell where the storm will make landfall, but the Texas coast is in the potential forecast zone. Laurie Johnson has more on what local officials say residents should be ready for.

The Texas coast has already taken a beating this year. Small, but still damaging storms Edouard and Dolly came ashore here. And now Gustav threatens to make an appearance. Harris County Emergency Management Coordinator Mark Sloan says people should start by finding out if their home is in the storm surge zone.

“And if you don’t know where you are in terms of the surge zone we encourage you to go to the website hcoem-dot-org, so that you understand ‘am I in harm’s way’. If you are, understand where you’re going to go and what your routes are going to be. If you’re outside of the surge zone, make sure you have the resources in place to sustain yourself, protect your family and property, because we may lose power for a few days as we did in Rita.  Even though it came ashore in Beaumont, we lost power for a few days.”

For those who live in areas where it’s safe to ride out the storm, now is the time to go to the grocery store and fill up the gas tank. And the fact that it’s Labor Day weekend means many people will be returning from out of town on Monday afternoon — right at the time that forecasters expect Gustav to enter the Gulf and strengthen.

“We know that they’re going to enjoy the holiday weekend, but they’ve got to monitor our local media. Because this storm, once it does enter the Gulf, is going to pick up speed and again it’s going to impact us so make those preparations now. Make your plans, but stay tuned to our radio and television stations.”

Sloan says the county is ready if Gustav tracks this way, and they’re keeping an eye on Tropical Storm Hanna which is slowly making its way toward Cuba.

“Our resources from our departments and our partner agencies are on standby, ready to deploy when the call is necessary for…if we need to evacuate or contra-flow lanes are necessary, those resources are on standby and ready to go.”

Laurie Johnson. KUHF-Houston Public Radio News.


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Laurie Johnson

Laurie Johnson


Laurie is a native Houstonian who started her career at Houston Public Media in 2002. Laurie has covered a wide variety of topics for HPM, including the crash of the Space Shuttle Columbia, Hurricanes Katrina and Ike, and numerous elections. She is a frequent contributor to NPR and has been...

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