Austin welcoming evacuees and AISD preparing for flooding
With heavy rains from Hurricane Harvey on the way to Central Texas, Austin ISD employees started filling sand bags early Friday morning.
FOX 7 was there at Martin Middle School on Haskell Road as crews delivered the bags and put them into place, trying to prevent as much flood damage to the buildings as possible.
Perez Elementary was hit hard during 2013's Halloween flood.
"We will have people 24/7 working 24/7 around the clock and throughout schools, we will have a pumping station...pumps there to remove the water from the building and we will manage the cameras throughout the district," said AISD director of maintenance Louis Zachary.
Also early Friday morning the Austin-Travis Co. Emergency Operations Center kicked into gear.
As of Friday afternoon 2 shelters are now open for Harvey evacuees from the coast.
Delco center on Pecan Brook Drive and LBJ High School on Lazy Creek Drive.
"We ask that people bring their own comfort items such as blankets and pillows because we've got a lot of people coming in and its easier if people bring their own stuff," said Bristel Minsker with the American Red Cross. Minsker says shortly after Delco was opened, there was already a family of 20 checked in.
Various city and county agencies held a press conference at city hall Friday afternoon.
Director of Homeland Security and Emergency Management Juan Ortiz says the two shelters together can hold about 1,000 evacuees.
"If we get to about half of that population then we'll start looking at the other facilities that we have on standby. we'll go ahead and start getting those ready," Ortiz said.
Ortiz says they will check with San Antonio this weekend to see what the traffic flow is heading north -- that way they can get a good idea of how many people are coming our way.
But the 2 shelters are only for evacuees from the coast. Here in Austin we may get a dangerous amount of rain ourselves that could flood homes.
"This is a pretty scary scenario. This is basically what you really don't want to happen which is we're preparing to shelter evacuees from the coast andwe're preparing for possible flooding here in our own home region," Minsker said.
"If we get to the point where conditions result where folks are displaced and we need to open up shelters to support our residents and our community, we will open those facilities at that point in time and we will basically keep those separated," Ortiz said.