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Tropical storm targets Gulf coast

BY SUSAN KIM | GALVESTON, TX | June 5, 2001


"Flash flooding poses the biggest hazard as it runs off. it's dangerous to drivers."

—John Richer


A tropical storm warning was issued Tuesday afternoon for the Texas and Louisiana Gulf

coasts from Sargent, TX to Morgan City, LA. Forecasters predicted that Tropical Storm

Allison would continue to move north Tuesday night through Wednesday and would not

gain strength before making landfall. Residents can expect a storm surge of two to four feet

above normal tidal levels.

Louisiana is expected to receive slightly more rain than Texas over a longer stretch of its

coastline.

The first Gulf storm of the season makes

everyone go on high alert, said Terry

Thompson, operations manager for the

Louisiana Office of Emergency Preparedness.

"We always get antsy and anxious about it.

We're eyeing it."

Local parishes in Louisiana are placing sandbags

at central locations in case residents need them,

he said.

But Thompson added that he thinks the coastline will whether Allison well because local

emergency management officials and residents alike are prepared. "Just last week we had a

hurricane exercise."

John Richer, director of Allen Parish emergency response, joked that he'd rather not even

call Tropical Storm Allison "a storm."

"We just call that heavy rain," he said, adding that the area is prepared to handle a lot of

rain. "Flash flooding poses the biggest hazard as it runs off," he said. "It's dangerous to

drivers."

Tuesday evening and Wednesday will be spent "waiting and monitoring," said Richer. "The

sheriff's department will go on alert at an early stage, watching to see if any roads become

dangerous."

Local churches and response groups in both Louisiana and Texas reported they were going

through their customary preparation tasks.

The Salvation Army has its canteen packed and ready to roll, said Mike Crawford, head of

disaster relief for the Salvation Army in Galveston, TX. "We can go anywhere the need

arises."

Bob Wells, at the William Temple Episcopal Center also in Galveston, added, "We have a set

of guidelines established that indicate to us when to do what," said. "For example, when the

winds are high enough to shut down the childcare center. We also put up wooden shutters

over all the doors and windows."

By Tuesday evening, residents were getting their homes ready to withstand wind and rain.

"I'm bringing in all my potted plants," said Galveston resident Julie Agee. "They'll turn into

weapons in that wind."

Galveston's history may make residents there more apt to prepare for storms. In 1900, a

massive hurricane killed some 6,000 people there.


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