BEAUMONT, Texas — Traffic on Interstate 10 was backed up Saturday afternoon as residents of Louisiana evacuated to escape Hurricane Ida.
Ida strengthened into a Category 2 hurricane Saturday and is expected to be a Category 4 when it makes its forecasted landfall along the southeast coast of Louisiana Sunday. Disaster and recovery teams are already preparing to help.
For evacuees planning to come to Southeast Texas, Jefferson County and the American Red Cross are coordinating disaster shelters.
Red Cross officials are expecting the storm to intensify and urge people to make proper evacuation plans.
“We're doing heavy duty preparation, making sure that we have resources in place,” Jennifer Sparks, Red Cross communications and marketing manager, said. “Right now, we are getting shelters set up in east Texas. We are going to be making sure that we are ready for people who are coming across the state lines.”
As soon as the storm is over, Red Cross will need all the help and resources they can get, Sparks said.
“Anybody who can come out to be a shelter volunteer we will provide all the trainings," Sparks said. "But we need hands, that is our biggest call to action right now.”
The Salvation Army is already planning to go to Louisiana after the storm.
Salvation Army officials said they are still helping people who suffered flooding from Imelda and disaster from Laura, so the prepping drill is not new.
The Salvation Army has been closely monitoring Hurricane Ida and preparing for a potential response after the storm. They will have emergency disaster teams and response units pre-staged in Beaumont.
“We go out and help those folk that need the help the most, and in the places where people are most experiencing the most fear," Jason Moore, Salvation Army co-officer, said.
The Salvation Army will also begin setting up laundry and shower units. There will also be a bunkhouse. All hands will be on deck when the Salvation Army arrives to Louisiana, Jason Moore, Salvation Army co-officer, said.
“We'll probably have mobile kitchens that are preparing the food either right here in BOMA or maybe right over in Lake Charles, somewhere near the disaster recovery site,” Moore said.
“Yeah, we normally try to make sure that we have supplies that people can use right away," Moore said. "So just food, anything that's practical we want because what the salvation army likes to do is make sure that people have those basic necessities to live.”
The organization will need more volunteers and supplies, Moore said. For those who are would like to help, you can contact the Salvation Army by calling 409-896-2361 or emailing Jason.Moore@uss.SalvationArmy.org.