Galveston Hurricane Preparedness Meeting

Galveston hosts its annual Hurricane Preparedness Town Hall Meeting tonight. Officials say the death and destruction Hurricane Ike left behind last year are proof of the need to be ready for a storm, if it comes. Jim Bell reports.

Galveston Mayor Lyda Ann Thomas says if there's anyone in or anywhere near Galveston who doesn't know what hurricanes can do all they need do is look around them at what Hurricane Ike did, and use that knowledge to help them survive the next hurricane.

"It should make a big difference in the minds of our citizens to come tonight, and to not only be prepared, but more important than that is to have a plan in the event that we have to evacuate." 

Mayor Thomas says when a hurricane is coming, people who live in or near Galveston or any coastal area in the path of the storm must pay attention to their local officials. More than anything else, she says she hopes people will take the initiative, and evacuate early to get out ahead of the inevitable congestion.

"I'm going to ask them again to pay attention and take responsibility for yourselves and your families. And don't wait for the officials to say 'leave'.  People can tell by watching the storm track that hey you know we better get out of here now. Be prepared, have a plan and leave early." 

The 2009 Hurricane Preparedness Town Hall Meeting will feature emergency managers from every level. The city and county, the Governor's Division of Emergency Management, FEMA, UTMB, utility providers and the National Weather Service.  The meeting starts at 6pm in the Galveston Island Convention Center at 5600 Seawall Boulevard.  

Jim Bell, KUHF, Houston Public Radio News.

For information about Hurricane Ike recovery, visit the Galveston-dot-com website.