How State of Texas Prepared for Hurricane Alex

5 07 2010

Good information from KEYE TV on how the State of Texas used the State Operations Center in Austin for response to Hurricane Alex.  More good information on how our State’s newly appointed Chief of the Texas Department of Emergency Management needed to begin his term of office a bit early because of Hurricane Alex.  Now we will wait and see if Tropical Disturbance 16 will call for a re-enactment of the good efforts described below.  This information was reported on June 29, 2010.

KEYE TV received a sneak peek inside the very busy Emergency Operations Center in Central Austin, hours after it opened on Tuesday. The state mobilized a team of emergency responders who are now handling preparations and response for Hurricane Alex.

The command center was in a critical 24 hour time period Tuesday evening that would determine exactly where the storm would make landfall. The responders kept an eye on evacuation routes, were in constant contact with South Texas officials and prepared for what they believed would be the greatest threat of the storm; flash flooding.

Day one at the Emergency Operations Center was anything but the calm before the storm. The responders had less than 20 hours before Alex was expected to hit our coast. 

“This is my first week on the job,” Texas EOC Chief Emergency Manager, Nim Kidd told a room of reporters.

He’s the man in charge and seemed convinced his teams did everything they could, as of Tuesday afternoon.

“The question is going to come, do we have enough resources there,” he asked rhetorically to the group of journalists. “The answer to that is, I’m comfortable with where we are. We have deep ready reserves that we are assembling to send out after landfall. But what we don’t want to do is chase this storm up and down the coast any more than we have to.”

It’s Nim Kidd’s first time to lead the state’s hurricane response efforts. So far, he has overseen the deployment of 100 buses, 25 ambulances and 20 shelters to the Deep South, or nearby, ready to go at a moment’s notice. Kidd also tapped the Central Texas chapter of the American Red Cross to send volunteers with emergency response vehicles to the coast.

“They’ve been trained very well,” Red Cross spokesman, Amir Roohi said about the volunteers. “They’ve been through hurricanes before. They were in the Valley for Dolly and they know exactly what they’re doing and we’re very confident they’re prepared.”

“We have over 500 first responders over there with over 100 boats that are already staged in the area, ready to do water rescue if that situation rises,” Kidd reassured the group.

So now, everyone watches and waits. As of Tuesday night, the command center expected up to a foot of rain to fall on parts of Southern Texas.

Kidd wasn’t supposed to start his new job as Interim Chief of Emergency Management until this Thursday. Obviously, Alex sped up the process. He replaced Jack Colley who suffered a heart attack and died in May. Kidd served as San Antonio’s Emergency Manager since 2004.

Link to KEYE TV News Report:



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