Texas not concerned with Tropical Storm Debby

Published On: Jun 25 2012 07:54:36 AM CDT   Updated On: Jun 25 2012 04:47:21 PM CDT
Galveston
GALVESTON, Texas -

People living in the Houston and Galveston areas are not too worried about Tropical Storm Debby.

In Galveston on Sunday, beachgoers and tourists filled the streets. No one seemed overly concerned with the tropical storm.

"We're going to dig in the sand and hunt for crabs," one beachgoer said.

"We're going to fly by the seat of our pants, having fun in the sun," another person said.

Officials said they're keeping an eye on Debby, just in case.

"We'll continue to monitor it and stay prepared. We'd like to take this opportunity to let the citizens know where we live and what we can face sometimes," said Charlie Kelly with the Galveston Office of Emergency Management.

"A lot of people in Galveston moved here after Ike, so they're probably thinking it's no big deal," said Cheryl Clark. "And the people who went through Ike think that was the worse and if we can deal with that, we can deal with anything. I stayed here for Ike so I'm not worried about this one."

The tropical storm is expected to stay over the Gulf of Mexico for the next few days.

Jeff Weaver and his family already have a plan in place if it heads towards the area.

"We already got a hurricane kit and we're ready to go. We got plans to move. I work at hospital, so I'll stay here and she'll take the family if we have to go," he said. "We're all ready. It goes with the territory."

Resident Zak Golub said he he prepared, too.

"Close your blinds, get some plywood and board up your windows," he said. "Make sure your boat is chained down."

Resident Alex DeSteiguer said that living along the coast keeps him cautious.

"Your guard stays up 24 hours a day, seven days a week," he said. "You've always got to be careful."

As of Monday morning, Galveston's Emergency Operations Center had not been activated. But the threat of a tropical storm serves as a dress rehearsal for the 2012 hurricane season.

"We encourage everybody around June to put together a little hurricane kit, first-aid kit, some canned goods, perishable stuff, all your papers, documents for your home," said Kelly. "Have that kit ready in a plastic to-go bag and you can throw it in your bag when you're ready to take off."

Galveston is offering free transportation off the island during an emergency. Call 409-621-3179 to register.

Harris County watches Debby

Meantime, Debby's uncertainty caused the Harris County Office of Emergency Management to move from a level 4 to a level 3 threat on Sunday afternoon.

"All that means is that we have a crew beginning to be there, monitor all the time, because as we've learned, Debby is the classic example of you always have to be prepared during hurricane season," said Judge Emmett with Harris County.

Emmett said the team is simply watching and waiting.

"We try to operate on a 120-hour timeline so we really get going 120 hours before potential landfall," he added.

At a Home Depot in southwest Houston, few shoppers appeared to be buying hurricane supplies.

The store manager said that all Home Depots across Houston had increased their stock of batteries, flashlights, radios, and generators.

Tim McWilliams said he went to the store to buy a flashlight. He also looked a generator but decided against the purchase.

"I'd probably leave town before I'd turn on a generator," said McWilliams. "I don't think it's coming. Not worried yet, but it's the first one."

Despite uncertain forecast paths, Emmett said now is the time to prepare.

"Use this as the reason to sit down with the family and say, 'OK, what's our plan if a hurricane comes our way?'" he said.