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If mandatory evacuation is ordered, what does it mean?

By Melissa Crowe
June 17, 2014 at 1:17 a.m.

Hurricane season means preparing for the worst, and while evacuations are uncommon in the Crossroads, community leaders are preparing carefully.

The Weather Channel is predicting a quiet season in the Atlantic Ocean and is forecasting 11 named storms, including five hurricanes. AccuWeather is forecasting 10 named storms and five hurricanes.

Victoria Mayor Paul Polasek said there are many factors to consider before recommending residents evacuate, and public safety is No. 1.

"An evacuation itself is dangerous - it's costly with manpower, but to put that many people on the highways invites dangers," he said. "There's a lot of factors to weigh, and it's not an easy decision."

Hurricanes are not something to take lightly, he said.

"Sometimes, younger folks can find the possibility a little exciting, but it's not," Polasek said. "It's very serious, and warnings need to be heeded. You can lose life and property if you're not careful."

Victoria County Emergency Management Coordinator Jeb Lacey said if a major hurricane hits the Crossroads, the quality of life "will not be sufficient for most people," and even more difficult for people with medical or access-dependencies.

"People have a vested interest in their property here, and we have to make an exceptionally high priority, especially when they have made the right decision to relocate for their own safety temporarily," Lacey said. "The city and county's elected leadership has always placed the highest priority on the citizen's right to be back in their home community as soon as it is safe."

He said the challenge is in building resilience through community preparedness.

"People watching out for one another, that's what builds resilience in a community," Lacey said. "If we try to do it alone, we'll end up replicating the same efforts. We need to make sure we're taking care of each other."

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