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Hurricane evac: How it works

By Brian Cuaron
May 25, 2011 at 12:25 a.m.


When the water begins to flow, you got to go.

"The traditional rule of thumb is that we run from water and we hide from wind," said Jeb Lacey, Victoria County's emergency management coordinator.

Lacey said the majority of Victoria County is not a hurricane-surge zone, making a county-wide mandatory evacuation unlikely should a hurricane strike.

There is also a voluntary evacuation.

Should an evacuation be recommended, Lacey said those who stay behind need to accept the fact that they may have to go without running water, electricity, fire protection, law enforcement and public works' support. If someone defies a mandatory evacuation order, they could be held legally and civilly liable for any attempt to rescue them.

Lacey said the county would rely on local media outlets in getting the word out about an evacuation. He said his team would also use a reverse 9-1-1 system in publishing an evacuation notice.

Residents may register their cell phones into the system at victoriatx.org/oem/index.asp.

County Judge Don Pozzi decides when to call for an evacuation. Mayor Will Armstrong also works besides him on the issue.

Pozzi said that during a hurricane he and those working with him are in constant communication with the Texas Division of Emergency Management and the National Weather Service, keeping track of the direction of the storm. They use the information to help determine when to call for an evacuation.

Armstrong said officials need to be careful not to call for an evacuation too soon or too late. He said an evacuation can be costly to low-income people. Pozzi added that an evacuation can be difficult since everyone is trying to leave at the same time.

"It's a complete disruption of someone's normal life," Pozzi said.

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