Networking aided in storm disaster planning, aftermath

Published 12:24 pm Tuesday, July 9, 2024

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The value of networking came into play with the recent arrival of Tropical Storm Beryl.

Local and county officials along with state officials and the National Weather Service Lake Charles stayed up-to-date on the movement of the storm while strategizing the future needs of residents.

Hurricane Beryl made landfall near Matagorda, more than 180 miles to the west of Southeast Texas, around 4 a.m. Monday and has been downgraded to a tropical storm.

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Port Arthur Mayor Thurman Bartie gave thanks to God, first of all, for sparing the city once again from “what could have been.”

Thanks was given to the emergency management team and essential city staff who worked together Saturday on a plan and once they saw the storms landfall would affect the area, took action.

Bartie asked for a voluntary evacuation of Sabine Pass and Pleasure Island, areas that are low lying, on Sunday. No major flooding or damage was reported.

According to the National weather Service Lake Charles’ climate report for Monday, the Beaumont/Port Arthur area saw 3.44 inches of rainfall, which is a record for that day.

The highest wind speed was 41 mph and the highest wind gust came in at 61 mph.

An official with the NWS said they would not have a complete storm report available for several days.

Typically when a storm enters the Gulf of Mexico, local officials join in with county, state and federal officials for briefings on the storm’s path and what action would need to be taken.

That is true of Tropical Storm Beryl as well.

On Tuesday Bartie was at his home church, First Sixth Street Baptist Church, where they collaborate with the South East Texas Food Bank in distributing food to those in need.

The mayor said there weren’t as many people in line this time, possibly because those who regularly seek the assistance didn’t know the food drive would occur due to the recent storm.

Bartie said he received calls and texts from congressmen, the Speaker of the House, state representatives and state senator as well as the Jefferson County sheriff and judge.

“I have personally communicated with them during this weather experience, which let some know, again, we have the networking possibility and resources if needed from their agencies,” Bartie said.

Bartie also used Facebook live to update residents on the storm.

“We did experience some forms of discomfort yet have survived and this being the early months of hurricane season, I want us to remain vigilant,” he said.

According to Entergy Texas, there were 8,410 households without power as of 11 a.m. Tuesday, down from the previous number of more than 10,000 Tuesday morning.

Mid County cities saw little damage from downed limbs and some power lines.

One such area to lose power was Nederland Public Safety Complex, which houses the police, fire and central dispatch.

Central Dispatch takes all police, fire and emergency calls for the three Mid County Cities. The Public Safety Complex was on generator power through Monday night until power was restored around 11:30 a.m. Tuesday.