San Antonio, Texas Gear Up for Harvey

The City of San Antonio is preparing to receive evacuees from the coast due to Tropical Storm Harvey, and is also preparing to deal with potential flooding, News Radio 1200 WOAI reports.

"San Antonio stands ready to provide all necessary assistance to any Texas residents who need aid as a result of the tropical storm, Mayor Nirenberg said.

San Antonio has regularly housed evacuees from coastal storms, taking in more than 25,000 people from New Orleans in the wake of Hurricane Katrina in 2005.

Nirenberg says San Antonio is also helping with state efforts to stage resources, including buses to transport potential evacuees, as well as organizing relief plans.

Governor Abbott late Wednesday declared thirty Texas coastal counties as Disaster Areas, to free up state and federal funding to be used to deal with the storm.

"Texans believe in taking action and always being prepared in the event of an emergency," Abbott said. "Preemptively declaring a state of disaster will allow Texas to quickly deploy resources for the emergency response effort in anticipation of the storm's hazardous conditions."

Harvey strengthened to a Tropical Storm overnight, and it could strengthen to a hurricane.  That would make it the first hurricane to hit the Texas coast since 2008, when Dolly hit South Padre Island and Ike slammed into Galveston.

That concerns Libby Castillo with the local Red Cross, especially considering that many people have moved to the state in the last nine years and have no idea of the power of a hurricane.

"Kind of familiarize yourself with what may be coming," she said.  "Learn what to prepare for, even though they have never experienced it."

She says the Red Cross is gearing up for emergency action.

"In house, we are giving notice to our volunteers who know how to set up a shelter, how to respond to disasters, and be prepared to move to wherever the storm hits land," she said.

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