City officials prepare for possibility of quiet hurricane season

LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - With hurricane season, county leaders know the one thing they can control is being prepared.

"It's good to bring everybody together right before the season starts and kind of get everybody refreshed as you know what we could be facing and how we're going to respond if it does come about," said Angelina County Judge Wes Suiter.

KTRE Chief Meteorologist Brad Hlozek and hurricane forecasters are predicting this is a less intense year for tropical weather. It comes as good news for city leaders.

"We've been very fortunate to not have any incidents here in Angelina County and hope that trend continues this year," said Suiter.

While the threat for hurricanes appears low, the American Red Cross isn't taking disaster preparedness lightly.

"If it's not a hurricane, unfortunately, we could have another type of disaster. So, we always need to be prepared," said Glenna Harkness, Community Development of the American Red Cross.

Construction is underway on expanding Angelina County's emergency shelter. A five million dollar government grant from Hurricane Ike disaster relief will double the floor space in the Lufkin civic center.

"This will expand our capability and give us different options for dealing with various types of evacuees," said Keith Wright, Deputy City Manager.

The extra room will provide a safe haven for up to 700 additional evacuees.

"With the new shelter coming, we're really looking at the smaller churches, churches that might not normally shelter to really come on board," said Harkness.

Officials hope the expansion will be complete around Christmastime. Hurricane season officially begins June 1st and will last until November. Official prediction numbers for this year's hurricane season have not yet been released.

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