Rio Grande Valley Parks Brace for Hurricane
As Hurricane Ike charged into the Gulf's fueling waters and toward the Texas coast, officials prepared today (Sept. 10) to evacuate the first of 1 million residents who could be in the way of the storm's path.
Forecasters at the National Hurricane Center predicted Ike, which has already raked the Caribbean and Cuba, would feed on the Gulf's warm waters and intensify before slamming into Texas somewhere near Corpus Christi early Saturday, according to the Associated Press.
If Texas officials order a mandatory exodus, it would be the first large-scale evacuation in South Texas history. State and county officials let people decide for themselves whether to leave a hurricane area until just before Hurricane Rita struck the Gulf Coast in 2005. Now county officials can order people out of harm's way.
The Valley is home to numerous RV parks and campgrounds favored by "snowbirds" who come down from the North to spend the winter.
Gov. Rick Perry has already declared 88 coastal counties disaster areas to start the flow of state aid, activated 7,500 National Guard troops and began preparing for an evacuation, lining up "buses rather than body bags."