Daily Progress, Jacksonville, TX

Local News

August 28, 2012

2 shelters on standby for Hurricane Isaac

JACKSONVILLE — Cherokee County can expect isolated thunderstorms through tomorrow, but they are not a result of the hurricanes, officials with the National Weather Service in Shreveport said.

Lisa Frantz, hydrometeorological technician with the weather service, said there is a 20 percent chance of thunderstorms today and tonight, as well as tomorrow and tomorrow night.

“It's pretty isolated all around you,” she said. “For the area, it's hit or miss throughout the day.”

As Tropical Storm Issac was scheduled to make landfall Monday, Smith County American Red Cross officials were making a minimum of two conference calls a day across Texas in preparation for Louisiana evacuations.

President Barack Obama declared a state of emergency in Louisiana Monday afternoon and Gulf coast residents were urged to prepare emergency supply kits as heavy wind and rain were predicted to hit the states.

Forecasters predict Isaac will intensify into a Category 1 hurricane Monday or Tuesday, with a projected path directly toward New Orleans on Wednesday, the Associated Press reported. Isaac could become the first hurricane to hit the Gulf Coast since 2008.

While people across the coast were boarding up their homes to prepare for winds that were expected to top 74 mph, the bigger fear from Isaac is the potential for flooding, the Associated Press reported.

Isaac could push storm surge as high as 12 feet into parts of Louisiana and Mississippi, and 1 to 3 feet high as far away as Florida's west coast. Isaac already left a trail of destruction in the Caribbean, most of it blamed on flooding that killed 24 people.

“Issac is showing a big possibility that we might get a lot of rain, multiple floods and destruction,” said Susan Campbell, Smith County Red Cross board chair.

Campbell said 10 shelters have been put on standby throughout East Texas, including two shelters in Jacksonville: First United Methodist Church and Central Baptist Church.

“Louisiana will start filling up theirs first in their state before they come to us,” she said. “But we have them on standby.”

Campbell said the shelters have been trained for Red Cross mass care in a state of emergency and the nation is preparing to utilize volunteers.

In the mist of safety and preparedness, American Red Cross launched their hurricane application that can be downloaded to any iPhone or Android device.

“The Red Cross hurricane app gives local and real time information for coastal residents and those who might be traveling over the next few days to areas affected by Isaac,” Campbell said in a press release. “Remote weather alerts can also help give peace of mind to people who winter near the forecasted storm track and those who have relatives and friends in these coastal areas.”

Campbell said not only can app users find available shelters, they can track Isaac and receive weather notifications straight to their mobile devices.

“Anyone can download it, even those who just want to know where their loved ones are,” she said. “People who are affected by the storm can push a button that says, 'I'm safe.'”

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