ETX emergency officials prepare for Hurricane Isaac

LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - East Texas is not projected to be immediately in the way of Hurricane Isaac's destruction. However, emergency officials are not taking any chances, so they're staying ahead of the storm.

"It's a great dress rehearsal, that's what I would call it," said Lufkin Deputy City Manager Keith Wright.

Hurricane Isaac has made landfall, knocking out power for hundreds in Louisiana. However, East Texas emergency officials say there's no need for those in the Pineywoods to panic.

"Current projections, we're looking at two to four inches of rain, probably on the lower side of that, 20 to 25 mile per hour winds, and some 40 mile per hour gusts," said Wright.

Wright says the biggest concern for East Texas is the large amount of dead trees that can fall on power lines, causing outages. That's why officials like Cindy Nickell say we need to stay prepared.

"We're not sure where it's going to make landfall again. And, we just need everybody to be alert and pay attention to the weather," said American Red Cross Site Director,  Cindy Nickell.

The American Red Cross has a stocked warehouse, hundreds of volunteers, and five shelters on stand-by in the event the need rises. These shelters can be up and running in as little as 30 minutes and can house a total of 850 people.

"All we have to do is call them. They have all the equipment that they need to start setting up a shelter at the churches, the places that we have," said American Red Cross Emergency Services Specialist, Claire Tryon.

In the warehouse, the American Red Cross has thousands of bottles of water, plenty of blankets and cots, and nearly 500 heater meals ready to go.

"The water came in yesterday. The pallets of heater meals came in today, all the rest of the stuff, the blankets behind me," said American Red Cross volunteer, Dale Slagle.

Lufkin police officers, firefighters, and public works officials are also on alert and ready to step in when they're called. The best way to stay informed with evacuations and shelters is through the American Red Cross app for your phone. They are also recruiting volunteers to help in any capacity that they can.

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