East Harris County With a lot to Lose Should a Storm Hit

Regardless of where Hurricane Ike winds up, Harris County’s east end is vulnerable to a storm of any kind. Pat Hernandez tells us Harris County Commissioner Sylvia Garcia is making sure everyone is prepared for anything.

Precinct-2 is Harris County’s “Hurricane Alley” because of its diverse industry. That includes NASA, the Port of Houston and the petro-chemical companies that dot the Houston Ship Channel.

“This is where the storm usually comes through. Whenever there is a storm, we usually get hit the hardest.”

Commissioner Sylvia Garcia says her precinct is home to a fourth of the county’s 4-million residents, but just as important, assets that provide employment to the area and product here and abroad.

“We work together with industry and NASA and the port to make sure we take all the steps necessary to protect all our assets.”

Ground zero for storm preparation is the Washburn Tunnel.

“We work out of here. We have a helicopter pad where emergency vehicles can come to. So, this is our center of operation. It’s sort of a mini-satellite, if you will, to TranStar. We take the lead from the county judge through the state, and we assist in help and are ready to mobilize the very next morning to start up clearing up our areas.”

Bay area cities connected to the ship channel feel the effects of very heavy rains because of the topography.

“Because we’re in the middle of a surge zone, no matter what direction it takes, we’ll feel some impact.”

Whether its rain, winds, or a combination of both, Garcia says they’ll just have to wait and see.

Pat Hernandez, KUHF…Houston Public Radio News.