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Refugio County judge keeps her residents informed throughout the storm

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Posted at 7:52 PM, Jul 08, 2024
  • Hurricane Beryl made landfall on Monday morning and is no longer a threat to Refugio County.
  • County Judge Jhiela “Gigi” Poynter said she needed to keep her residents safe and up-to-date with the storm's affects.

Hurricane Beryl is no longer a threat to Refugio County. The county judge kept her residents up-to-date on Hurricane Beryls path after a mandatory evacuation.

As Beryl approached the Texas coast, emergency officials everywhere were watching closely.

“Essentially there isn’t a safe place in the county,” Refugio County Judge Jhiela “Gigi” Poynter said

Poynter has been the judge since 2023, but moved to Refugio after Hurricane Harvey.

“When I moved here in 2017 it was right on the heels of Hurricane Harvey. I have the benefit of hindsight. Right when I got here is when all the recovery efforts were taking place and seeing that first hand,” she said.

Poynter said she learned from those recovery efforts. One of those lessons - communication.

As people, including Poynter’s own family were leaving, the judge took to social media to keep the public informed.

“I think one of the things that we learned from that experience as a community was how important communication was and the varies forms of communication were essential. Because you never know when you’re going to lose power,” Poynter said.

Living in a small county means there’s also no immediate emergency assistance. That’s why it’s crucial to keep neighbors informed on when they should evacuate and to keep them posted throughout the storm.

“We are a small coastal community. We are an evacuation county. What that means is - basically - if the situation were to deteriorate, if the weather becomes so severe that it poses this risk to human life and safety. Then the residents need to evacuate,” Poynter said.

Now that the storm has passed. Refugio County Judge Poynter said while there may be financial loss, safety was the priority.

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