CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — Hurricane season begins June 1 in the Coastal Bend.
“It’s important to make sure we prepare to keep the community safe, and we ask the community to do the same for their families,” said Corpus Christi city manager Peter Zanoni at Tuesday’s City Council meeting about being prepared for a storm in the area.
On Tuesday, Corpus Christi Emergency Management Coordinator Billy Delgado presented to the Corpus Christi City Council on the city’s plans if a major storm threatens the area.
One major part of the city’s plan Delgado focused on, is the plans for evacuation.
“We’re monitoring the storm 120 hours out. So, we’re continuously monitoring the situation, and the traffic,” he said. “The bigger the storm, the more zones we have to evacuate, the more time we need to evacuate.”
Delgado said the city will prioritize evacuating residents in low-lying areas, like Padre Island or North Beach, first in the event of a major storm.
“Storm surge is the No. 1 killer during a hurricane,” he said. “So, we want to make sure the low-lying areas are first to get out.”
Since Corpus Christi is a coastal city, there an no shelters available in the city for residents should they decide to ignore an evacuation mandate and stay in town.
“If we’re asking you to evacuate, that’s what we want you to do,” Delgado said. “So, prior to hurricane season, no public shelters will be open.”
For those who are unable to evacuate on their own, the city will provide evacuation assistance to residents, much like it did in for Hurricane Harvey in 2017.
The city will stage evacuees at the Corpus Christi Gym, on Saratoga Blvd., and CCISD buses will take people to shelters in San Antonio. CCRTA will provide free buses to the gym, and pets will be allowed.
Each resident being evacuated will receive a wristband that indicates which shelter they will travel to. The city will scan the wristbands into a computer system to make sure everyone is accounted, and people can contact the Red Cross by dialing 211 to locate a loved one.
Delgado said many agencies and organizations in Corpus Christi and across are involved in planning and executing preparations for major storms. He said the most important part of the whole operation is constant communication.
“It’s all about talking, not when the event happens, but prior to the event, and staying in contact year-round,” he said.
Delgado recommends families have a plan for what to do if an evacuation is called for, including gathering supplies and important documents to bring with them. He also urges everyone to sign up for alerts at ReverseAlert.org.