City of Galveston makes changes in emergency preparedness for hurricane season

June 22, 2012 4:27:14 PM PDT
It's been nearly four years since Hurricane Ike, one of the most powerful hurricanes to impact the Gulf Coast. Since then, a lot has changed when it comes to how we prepare for hurricanes.

In Galveston, we got a look at the improvements and whether emergency officials are better prepared this hurricane season.

It may be hard to imagine a storm brewing in the distance, but if you've lived through hurricanes like Tony Torres has...

"They're relaxed right now, but you always have to be prepared," Torres said.

The city of Galveston thought it was prepared when Hurricane Ike stormed ashore in 2008.

"There is a lot of lessons learned from Hurricane Ike," said Galveston City Manager Michael Kovacs.

The most important is that the storm surge prior to hurricane landfall could be much more devastating than the storm itself.

"We have to watch the size of the storm for the storm surge and we respond according to the store surge," said Kovacs.

The city has tweaked its evacuation plans and retrained its emergency workers. The biggest change though is not how to leave the island before the storm, but how to come back for the cleanup.

"We're putting our people in different places. We're smarter about our power supplies, our IT needs, everything in regards to response," Kovacs said.

The city also has put millions of dollars on reserve, in case FEMA money doesn't flow fast enough after a storm passes. It's all so people like Torres can still enjoy a day at the beach.

"I think from the last storm they learned a lot," said Torres.

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Keep your family safe this hurricane season. Check our complete tropical weather preparation guide

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