Same story, different hurricane - city of Tyler prepares for Ike's evacuees

So - here we go again. Not even a week after thousands of evacuees took shelter here from Gustav, the city of Tyler is preparing for Ike. KLTV 7's Layron Livingston has more on how the city is handling such a quick turn around.

Officials and relief staff we spoke with today say they're ready to go. The Red Cross is already gearing up, calling in additional volunteers, and supplies will come in from all over the country.

Ike is on his way which means the prep work is underway, and for some, it's going to cost them.

The beds aren't even cold yet. Red Cross workers are wasting no time getting hundreds of cots cleaned and taking inventory, getting ready for a potential flood of evacuees again.

"...calling our shelters to be sure they're ready to get going again makes it a little tough because we're still kind of cleaning up from Gustav," said Pat Shannon with the American Red Cross.

Shannon says regardless of whether Ike hits hard or not, he and his staff will be ready. In Smith county alone, the Red Cross provided shelter and meals to thousands of evacuees.

"They're estimating now 40-70 million dollars will be spent on the Gulf Coast area, and what a lot of people don't realize is that we're still having huge operations with Gustav in Louisiana."

Local hotel rooms are filling up fast, but for Raja Virk and the staff at Ramada, there are no guaranteed reservations for Gulf coast residents.

"The coast guard will come here and they will take the entire hotel....all the hotel rooms," said Virk today.

He says he lost $47,000 relocating guests after Gustav hit because his conference rooms and banquet halls became the Coast Guard's operation hub.

"We added 17 more phone lines here and all the other phones, and we add five more internet connections."

They're prepared to do it again, along with the rest of the city.

"A lot of resources are in place. We've got a lot of experience at it now, and our professionals have just done an outstanding job with it," said Mark McDaniel with the city of Tyler.

Beaumont is a sister city of the city of Tyler, and Tyler officials say until Beaumont orders an evacuation, they aren't expecting any residents from that area to come here, and we won't know until Wednesday if special needs evacuees will be relocated. Officials are watching the storm - and waiting.

Layron Livingston, reporting.