Evacuees heading for Tyler now

Tuesday night, more than 30 buses were on their way from Beaumont to east Texas carrying just over a thousand evacuees.

KLTV 7's Layron Livingston was out at Faulkner Park today to see what's different about this evacuation from Gustav's.

It's time - or lack thereof. The evacuation order came in around 7:30 am this morning.

The first buses arrived at Faulkner Park this afternoon. But, it was a rush job to make sure the city and relief workers were ready to receive them.

"Because of the shifting of the storm, we've already lost somewhere in the way of 30 hours of preparation time. So, we're really having to push the buttons fast and hard to make things happen right now," said Fire Chief David Schlottach.

City and county leaders are pooling their resources. An estimated 6,000 evacuees are expected to make their way to east Texas hotels and shelters, and local officials say we're prepared.

"What we're really working on is making sure we can put a roof over everybody's head," said Chief Schlottach.

And beds to sleep on.

Pat Shannon is with the American Red Cross. Cots and supplies are ready for shelters. But right now, he's feeling that urgency.

"We're in a hurry up mode right now," said Shannon. "We're kind of operating on a deficit right now. We're going to take all we can, and do as much as we can."

"We're pretty much set up."

The Salvation Army already has it's mobile canteen parked and ready to feed hundreds, and more are on their way.

Tyler has been designated the staging city for canteens from 13 states.

"It has grown really big, because this storm is supposed to be bigger and badder than Gustav was."

Final plans are still being put together.Local officials are still working on locating shelters to accommodate people, including some recently acquired Smith County facilities.

Local vets have stepped up and volunteered their facilities to house evacuee's pets.

Layron Livingston, reporting. llivingston@kltv.com