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Residents continue to prepare for Alex as threat weakens

June 29, 2010 at 1:29 a.m.
Updated June 30, 2010 at 1:30 a.m.

Tasha Boyd with her daughter Curstin, 5, of Call, sit on a pier in Port O'Connor. The Boyds came to Port O'Connor for vacation after they left Corpus Christi in case Hurricane Alex hits.

President declares emergency for Texas

President Obama has declared an emergency for Texas due to Hurricane Alex, making way for federal aid to the affected counties.

The federal aid is available through FEMA to supplement state and local response efforts due to the emergency conditions that began Sunday and continue forward.

Area counties included in the declaration are Refugio, Bee and Aransas.

Other counties include Atascosa, Bexar, Brooks, Cameron, Comal, Duval, Guadalupe, Hidalgo, Jim Hogg, Jim Wells, Kenedy, Kleberg, Live Oak, McMullen, Medina, Nueces, San Patricio, Starr, Webb, Willacy, Wilson and Zapata.

Specifically, FEMA is authorized to identify, mobilize and provide, at its discretion, equipment and resources necessary to alleviate the impacts of the emergency. Emergency protective measures, limited to direct federal assistance, will be provided at 75 percent federal funding.

The Crossroads area continues to prepare for Hurricane Alex even as forecasts predict a decreasing impact on southern Texas.

As of Tuesday night, the National Weather Service expects the hurricane to reach land 255 miles south of Brownsville by Wednesday night.

Alex is a Category 1 hurricane but is expected to strengthen before landfall.

According to a National Weather Service report, the storm will weaken as it moves up the coast, but it could still produce winds up to 175 mph.

A hurricane warning is in effect for Baffin Bay to the mouth of the Rio Grande River.

A tropical storm warning is in effect for Baffin Bay to Port O'Connor.

O.C. Garza, Victoria's public information officer, said the city has been on conference calls with the National Weather Service and that the threat Alex makes to Victoria continues to be minimal.

"We still remind people to please continue to monitor the storm because hurricanes do change course," Garza said.

He added the city has taken all of the "usual" precautions for a hurricane, including getting work vehicles ready and filling up fuel tanks.

"Having the first hurricane of the season target our area a bit is a wake up call for people," Garza said. "People should have a preparedness plan and be sure to have an emergency kit for their house."

Cat Grahmann, of Victoria, said she has washed clothes and plugged in a second fridge just in case the hurricane hits Victoria harder than expected.

But, Grahmann added, she and her family aren't too worried about this storm.

"Every time we gear up for a storm, nothing happens. We still have provisions from the last couple of times," she said.

In Bayside, Mayor Ken Dahl knows they will probably get hit with a lot of rain and high winds. He said he has already instructed city staff to fill up their trucks with gas and check the shops for loose material so there are "no missiles taking off."

"We may board up the city office depending on how high the winds are projected to be," Dahl said. "There are computers in there. I don't want stuff coming through the windows. We'll drive around town and look for things that might be a hazard."

Dahl said Bayside residents put their trash out on Tuesday night, so there will be a lot of encouraging people to get their trash cans in quickly on Wednesday so "they won't be all over the streets."

Michael Nichols of Rockport, having lunch at Crofutt's Restaurant in Bayside, wasn't concerned with Alex.

"I'll probably tie my chairs and tables together on the patio. If one goes, they all go," he said. "That's about it."

In the Calhoun County Courthouse, emergency management and elected officials listened to reports in a National Weather Service conference call.

County Judge Mike Pfeifer cited the National Weather Service when he said the county might see some rain and high tides but looks forward to a storm-less holiday weekend.

"We're looking forward to a nice July 4 weekend," Pfeifer said. "We're not expecting a whole lot in our area except for probably some rain. We'll see how much."

Alex is the first hurricane to enter the Gulf in the month of June since 1995.

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