Roads in Disaster Lead to B/CS

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With hurricane season approaching, the state is taking steps to make sure residents of the gulf coast can be evacuated safely. One of the locations designated as a potential safe haven: Bryan/College Station.

"When you look at Texas and you look at the roads that leave the coast, certainly Bryan/College Station is a logical choice because of the many facilities it has," according to Jack Colley, the state coordinator for the governor's division of emergency management.

"Our goal is to try and shelter about 20,000," said DeMerle Giordano, the emergency management coordinator for Brazos County. "Along with that would be anything from their vehicles -- and all kinds of vehicles -- to animals, and those with special needs."

The Twin Cities are a newly, officially-designated "hub," a location that will take in refugees, as well coordinate relief efforts. The first of a number of meetings with state and local officials was held in Bryan Tuesday. Authorities from the coast and surrounding counties came to detail what the Brazos Valley can do if disaster strikes.

"The communication is heightened," said Mary Jo Prince of the local Red Cross chapter. "People are working together in both communities and at the county levels, and surrounding county levels. I think that's what important to know."

Local emergency planners like Giordano already have a good idea of what the influx would look like locally.

"All of our hotels would definitely be full," she said. "Our restaurants would hopefully stay open, but they would be full continuously. We would have our churches and schools help us out with the sheltering, so most of them would be full, and with that, traffic congestion. So yes, we would be very much impacted."

And post 9/11, hurricane evacuation plans have become even more fluid to include other tragic possibilites.

"Whether it be a hazardous material spill or a terrorist event, which is the world we live in now, or any other type of event, this same concept would be used," said Colley.

So if Mother Nature or a terror cell were to strike, the road to recovery runs through the Brazos Valley.