Galveston Mayor Joe Jaworski and Mayor Pro Tem Linda Colbert presided over a meeting of the Mayor’s Hurricane Preparedness Team on Tuesday. Listen: MP3 RealPlayer
Meteorologist in Charge of the Houston-Galveston National Weather Service Office Gene Haefle first reported on the continuing drought in Texas.
“All the outlooks that go into the early part of the summer are all basically forecasting continued warm temperatures and continued below normal precipitation,” he said, adding a comment in jest. “So it looks like our drought will end with Tropical Storm Arlene, which is the the name of the first storm of the 2011 Hurricane Season.”
However, Tropical Storm season doesn't begin until June 1 and there are no systems in the tropics at this time.
David Popoff of the Department of Public Safety, who previously was assigned to the Galveston area, told the committee that he has now been promoted to the position of Regional Coordinator for DPS Region 2. He reported on changes in the state’s Strategy Policy and Response to Hurricanes.
“We have added a couple more steps, all for the better I think,” Popoff said. “One of the new additions this year, which is good, is early warning.”
Keith Gray, the Galveston area representative for CenterPoint Energy, reported that his crews have been working on the problems caused by salt corrosion on the power lines that has been complicated by the high winds and drought conditions; but said that CenterPoint is ready for the Hurricane Season.
Hank Glamann, a public information officer for the Houston District of the Texas Department of Transportation, reported on changes in the operation of the Bolivar Ferries.
“Beginning June the first, TxDOT is going to reorganize its ferry systems somewhat, on an experimental basis, in that the one here and the one in Port Aransas will be jointly managed,” Glamann said. “And on the organizational chart, the top management line, rather than going to the Galveston District and the Corpus Christi District, as it does now, will go directly to Austin.”
Glamann said that the change should be “invisible” as far from the customer’s point of view.
“Howard Gillespie, who currently runs the Port Aransas system, will be the chief operating officer of both systems beginning June first,” Glamann said. “He has some programs that they recently initiated down there by way of additional community outreach that you will be seeing versions of here.”
Glamann said that TxDOT will be stressing to the public that the ferry system is not an option for Hurricane evacuation.
Galveston Emergency Management Coordinator Charlie Kelly reminded everyone that the annual Hurricane Awareness Town Meeting will be at the Galveston Island Convention Center at the San Luis on May 18.