The calm before the storm: Red Cross ready for Isaac - - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

The calm before the storm: Red Cross ready for Isaac


With Isaac in the Gulf of Mexico and headed to make landfall in the United States, the same question is on everyone's minds: how strong will the storm become?

The more powerful the storm, the more people leave their homes looking for shelter.

The Smith County Red Cross has been in conference calls for a week. They have learned from previous storms that you can never be overly ready.

"After Katrina, the State of Texas signed an agreement with the State of Louisiana to take evacuees from New Orleans should there be a need. We don't know if there's going to be a need right now. The latest word that we have right now is that they would only put people on buses by the thousands if there would be a category three predicted for New Orleans, and that does not seem to be the case for this storm," Tammy Prater, Executive Director East Texas Red Cross, said.

But at this point no one really knows what the case will be. Before Katrina no one thought so many would leave the New Orleans area. No one thought they would have to travel all the way to East Texas and beyond for a place to escape the effects of the storm.

Some stayed to work like Ralph Thomas. He used his home's roof as his floor for three days until help came from above.

"It's like I was in a third-world country, because you had people out there in their nightclothes, just running around, I mean some people didn't have anything," Ralph said.

The Red Cross has pre-positioned trailers full of cots and food to make it easier on evacuees, and has a couple of new smart-phone apps to help with first aid and staying in touch with loved ones near the coast.

It's a lot of work preparing for the worst, but the Red Cross wouldn't mind in the least if all their work turned out to be for nothing this time around.

The East Texas Red Cross is coordinating food pantries and shelters, mostly in area churches in Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville, and Rusk.

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