Gustav in East Texas

EAST TEXAS (KTRE) - Past experience has taught emergency crews in East Texas how to handle severe weather and they're about to be put to the test. "We've learned a lot of lessons from Hurricane Rita. I hope this won't be the scale of that but I see such coordination of volunteers, our merchants, our emergency management. Everyone works as a team," Glenna Harkness with Red Cross explained.

While Gustav's destination is still unclear, the Red Cross is warning East Texans to be prepared just in case. Glenna says, "If you haven't filled up your gas tanks, we hope you will fill up your gas tanks, go ahead and get any supplies necessary in case there's power outages."

The emergency management operations says the heavy rains could start as early as Tuesday so this weekend is the time to prepare. "If we have those type of things we can expect power outages, flooding in various areas, those areas that normally flood, those citizens that have to experience that know that and know those areas and so they need to be prepared for that," Emergency Management Coordinator Keith Wright said.

And if Gustav does drop several inches of water in East Texas, Keith wants to remind everyone of the slogan, turn around, don't drown. "Some of the people that I saw in 2004 is where they drove into areas they could not tell what was there and they drove off into a deep ditch or something like that where it was deep."

The operations center will be taking calls 24 hours a day and if flooding occurs they'll get police and road blocks out immediately but they say if drivers can stay off the roads that's even better.

The City of Lufkin will be handing out sand bags at Grace Dunne Richardson park beginning at 8 Sunday morning.

If you need help before or during the storm in Lufkin you can call the shelter hub at 936-630-0620 or the information line at 936-630-0600.  For Nacogdoches you can call 936-559-2510.