Members of the Beeville Volunteer Fire Department, who will be in charge of rescuing people from the ravages of the storm were joined by Texas Department of Public Safety personnel, Bee County Sheriff’s Department deputies, Beeville Police Department officers, city and county public works supervisors, city and county officials, supervisors working at the Sikorsky Aerospace Maintenance facility at the Chase Field Industrial Airport Complex, employees of the Bee Community Action Agency and other organizations.
David Morgan, emergency management coordinator for the county and city, said it seemed certain that Bee County was in store for “a very significant rain event.”
Alex, now a hurricane, had not yet reached hurricane strength but would strength in the Gulf of Mexico.
Morgan said wind speeds were at 60 mph Tuesday morning and rainfall could reach six to eight inches when the storm reached land.
“This little shower we had this morning? That was part of Alex,” Morgan said.
“We may dodge the bullet,” Morgan stressed, “but not completely.” He said areas from Baffin Bay south were under a hurricane watch Tuesday with tropical storm winds expected to hit there by 6 p.m. Wednesday.
At the time, Morgan said it was possible that the storm could increase in strength to a category one hurricane by 1 a.m. Wednesday.
Morgan said that as of Tuesday there was a 40 percent chance of sustained winds of 39 mph or greater with faster gusts if the storm continued on its current path.
“If it tracks farther north, obviously that could change drastically for us,” Morgan said.
He had been informed that 20-foot seas would be possible in the gulf Tuesday night.
“That’s not storm surge. That’s just waves in the gulf.”
Rainfall amounts were expected to reach 11-15 inches in the landfall area of the storm. If rainfall reaches anywhere near that amount here, serious flooding could result.
Morgan said the county also would need to brace for possible tornadoes when the storm slams into land.
Morgan told those gathered that as of Tuesday morning, he was opening the Emergency Operations Center and that it would be open for 24 hours a day until the storm passes.
No evacuations are expected in Bee County but if they become necessary, people with special medical needs will be the first moved.
No shelters will be opened here except in an extreme emergency.
Jimmy Montemayor, who is in charge of maintenance at Chase Field, said the buses and ambulances that were parked there last year for Hurricane Ike are not here this time. It was possible, he said, that they could end up here again but he did not expect any word on that until Wednesday.