FORT WORTH — After sheltering about 1,700 people who fled Hurricane Gustav last week, local governments and nonprofits are preparing for another possible influx of evacuees as Hurricane Ike pushes through the Gulf of Mexico.
Emergency management workers said they have been on conference calls with Gov. Rick Perry's staff twice a day and are constantly checking weather reports to see where the storm will strike. Responders were in something of a holding pattern late Tuesday as the storm's track remained unpredictable.
"There's just so much uncertainty . . . in terms of everybody locally knowing what to do next," said Pat Patey, a spokesman for the Salvation Army.
If Ike makes landfall near the Mexico border, most evacuees would be sent to Austin and San Antonio, but if it veers north toward Houston, tens of thousands could head to the Dallas-Fort Worth area.
Anita Foster, spokeswoman for the area Red Cross chapter, said the worst-case scenario could bring 48,000 to North Texas.
Melissa Patterson, Tarrant County emergency management officer, said the governor’s office wants Dallas-Fort Worth to be ready for up to 40,000 evacuees, with 15,000 to 18,000 coming to Tarrant County.
She said the county had 23 shelters for about 1,700 people fleeing Gustav, which battered south Louisiana last week.
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