Ready for the storm

At top, personnel from TRC Disaster Solutions arrived at the Walker County Fairgrounds west of Huntsville on Tuesday to begin setting up early response recovery as Hurricane Ike looms in the Gulf of Mexico. TRC is an Oklahoma-based company that offers a number of disaster recovery services, including fast drying to prevent mold, as well as restoration specialists and corrosion prevention.

Walker County authorities continued to prepare for Hurricane Ike’s weekend landfall Wednesday, organizing evacuee shelters and planning for possible local power outages.

According to Butch Davis, Walker County emergency management coordinator, Hurricane Ike is set to make landfall between midnight and 6 a.m. Saturday, and high winds and rain are expected to reach this area.

“The storm has shifted about 50 miles north, which the National Weather Service is saying means it will come in at Bay City,” Davis said Wednesday night. “At the present time, winds are at 100 miles an hour and the storm is traveling at eight miles an hour in a north-northwest direction.

“The weather service is expecting the storm to hit as a low Category 4 storm.”

As of Wednesday night, residents in Matagorda and Brazoria counties were under voluntary evacuation, with mandatory evacuation to follow sometime today.

“Parts of Galveston are also evacuating residents, and Houston is talking right now to decide if they’re going to evacuate,” Davis said. “When this hits us, we should be prepared for sustained winds of 50 miles per hour or more for about 10 hours on Saturday.

“Meanwhile, we’ll have our shelters ready to take in an expected 2,500 evacuees.”

Davis said every individual or family should be prepared during the course of Hurricane Ike for possible power outages.

“Everyone needs to be diligent and make sure their gas tanks and generators are full, and that they have all of the bottled water they need,” he said. “Each person in a household should have one gallon of water for each day, and we recommend keeping a three-day supply.

“We should also start thinking about stocking up on non-perishable foods, making sure our first aid kits are completely supplied, and getting a good, battery-operated radio and flashlights.”

Davis also said any extra medications needed should be attained ahead of time, as well as a small amount of cash in the event of ATM outages.

“When we get the kinds of winds we’re expecting, we very likely may end up in a power outage situation, and these are the kinds of things people need in such a situation,” he said.

The Good Shepherd Mission, located at 1005 Ave. F, will accept storm donations from today until Sunday from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.

The COME Center, located at 350 B State Highway 75 North, will accept donations from today until Saturday from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.

For more information or to make a monetary donation, contact United Way executive director Julie Schneider at (936) 291-8986.