South Texas Prepares for Emily's Visit
by: Jack Williams, July 19, 2005 5:07:00 am
In Brownsville, the city's Bill Young says waiting for Emily's arrival isn't fun. "Being here and waiting for something to happen is like the anticipation you have on meeting your date's father," says Young.
With Emily churning toward an overnight landfall, residents are doing what they can to storm-proof their homes and businesses, boarding-up windows and checking their supplies of drinking water and batteries.
On South Padre Island, officials are going through last minute emergency preparations as they await what's expected to be a minor storm surge along with strong winds and heavy rain. Motor homes and other RV's have been evacuated, but most residents are ready to ride out the storm at home. "They know how to to prepare, they know what to watch," says South Padre Island Spokesman Ben Quandt. "They are never complacent but they take this and watch closely and they also don't panic. When you live in these kind of areas, you have to be ready for these kind of possibilities and South Padre Island is ready."
Hotels on the island are still open, with many guests staying put until the storm has passed. At the Sheraton Hotel, director of sales John Whitesell says the pool and restaurant are still open, with sandbags protecting the building from the nearby surf. "We go through it a couple of times a year," says Whitesell. "Last year, I believe it was twice, once in July and once in August. I know it's not business as usual, but we try to keep it as sane as possible."
In Cameron County, officials have handed out 85,000 sand bags and told residents to ride out the storm inside their homes. County Judge Gilberto Hinajosa says South Texans have been through this drill many times before.
The last major storm to hit near South Texas was Erika in August of 2003. The catagory 1 hurricane made landfall in northern Mexico.