HOUSTON -- Fuel trucks are headed toward coastal towns and evacuations routes are being cleared as Texas braces for a possible direct hit from Hurricane Dean.
The hurricane strengthened into a Category 3 storm in the eastern Caribbean Friday, ripping off roofs and flooding buildings.
The National Weather Service forecast several potential tracks for the unpredictable storm over the next five days. Some had it barreling into Mexico, others had it hammering the Texas coast.
Governor Rick Perry today declared the storm an "imminent threat" and initiated full-scale preparations. Storm-response task forces were put on alert and supply trucks and other resources were pre-positioned along evacuation routes.
Perry said the State Operations Center would be fully activated by Saturday morning.
Fuel trucks were speeding to the coast Friday to replenish gas stations expecting a surge of customers this weekend. During Rita, many gas stations ran out of fuel and shut down, further hampering the evacuation efforts.
State transportation officials said certain gas stations along the evacuation routes have agreed to stay open with a state guarantee that they will have fuel.