Hurricane Ike made landfall near Galveston, Texas, as a Category 2 Hurricane on September 13, 2008. The RAIN came DOWN. As the winds howled, pine trees swayed and hardwoods were violently uprooted, many locals recalled the sheer number of evacuees stranded along roadways just 3 years earlier in the aftermath of Hurricane Rita in 2005, when a massive wave of evacuees fled the Gulf Coast and headed our way.
The Emergency Operation Center was activated prior to Ike making landfall. Phones rang off the hook as local officials across the Deep East Texas Region went into full activation mode answering phones, ordering resources, and responding to citizens’ concerns. Law enforcement, volunteer fire departments, and emergency medical services responded across the County, and the American Red Cross deployed to shelters to meet the needs of local residents and evacuees fleeing the Gulf Coast. Five days after Ike roared through East Texas, PolkCountyToday.com covered Governor Rick Perry’s September 18, 2008 visit to Polk County. In that article, Governor Perry states, “Ike was potentially one of the most devastating storms ever produced in the Gulf of Mexico. Ike was substantially more destructive to this part of Texas than Hurricane Rita was.”
As first responders began the long process of clearing roads and repairing downed powerlines, and eighteen wheelers drove into town to deliver MREs, Ice, and water, residents came out to assess the damage – and many were better prepared this time around. Although it has been almost 9 years since Ike blew through Polk County, it is important to not become complacent. Plan and prepare to take care of yourself and your family. Please take time to discuss your plan with your family and assemble an emergency supply kit. Your plans should include: • If we have to evacuate our home, where can we go? • What mode of transportation do we have to get there? • How will we communicate to outside family members if we have to go into a shelter?
Below is a list of items that should be included in your emergency supply kit: • Water, 1 gallon per person per day for at least 3 days, for drinking and sanitation • Food, at least a 3-day supply of non-perishable food • Battery-powered or hand-crank radio and a NOAA Weather Radio with tone alert and extra batteries for both • Flashlight and extra batteries • First aid kit • Whistle to signal for help • Dust mask to help filter contaminated air and plastic sheeting and duct tape to shelter-in-place • Moist towelettes, garbage bags and plastic ties for personal sanitation • Wrench or pliers to turn off utilities • Local maps • Can opener for food (if kit contains canned food) • Prescription medications and medical supplies • Important family documents • Infant formula and diapers if you have an infant • Pet food, extra water and supplies for your pet or service animal Please register for AlertMePolkCounty. https://alertmepolkcounty.bbcportal.com/ AlertMePolkCounty is the County’s emergency notification system. Severe weather alerts issued for Polk County and outreach messages regarding evacuation, sheltering, and points-of-distribution for food, water and ice will be delivered via AlertMePolkCounty. To register click on the above link, type AlertMePolkCounty into any online search engine, or click on the AlertMePolkCounty logo on the County website (www.co.polk.tx.us). Please click the following link for a complete hurricane/severe weather guide from the National Weather Service for additional preparedness tips. http://www.weather.gov/media/hgx/Hurricane%20Guide%202017.pdf
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