Harvey Evacuees Hit I-45 Headed For North Texas

NORTH TEXAS (CBSDFW.COM) – As hurricane Harvey makes a beeline for the Texas coast, many people in the storm’s path are heeding warnings to get out or at least get to higher ground.

“Oh, it’s going to get bad,” said Mark Lopez while stopping for a break in Ennis, just south of Dallas. And he’s not just talking about the storm. “It’s going to get real bad trying to get out.”

Lopez and others making the trek north warn that the storm is not evacuees’ only concern.

“There is some construction on this road and those points are going to get really, really nasty,” says Bob Fant, “it’s going to be a parking lot. Get out.”

And if you need help painting a mental picture of a 200 mile parking lot, recall the nightmare evacuation surrounding hurricane Rita in September of 2005. More than 100 evacuees died in the exodus, more victims than even the hurricane claimed. After that debacle, many threatened by approaching hurricanes chose to ride them out, instead.

Fant, who lived in Houston for a decade, has done that too. Nevertheless, when he wrapped up a business trip in the Houston area Friday, Fant wasted no time hitting the road for his current home in Oklahoma. Harvey, he says, is different.

“The difference is, the forecasters are saying this one is looking like it’s going to stall in the Corpus Christi/Houston area because of the two high pressure systems on either side of it,” noted Fant. “They can’t predict where it’s going to go… so the prediction is it’s going to sit there and rain on everybody for along time, it’s going to fill the wastersheds, it’s going to be a lot of water and it’s just not going to be pretty.”

Already, evacuees say that gasoline, water and canned food are in short supply.

“Everything’s just flying off the shelves,” says Stephen Rutledge of Sherman. Rutledge has been working a job in the area; but, says his company urged workers to evacuate.

Lopez, evacuating with his wife, infant daughter and extended family, says he takes the warnings seriously.

“Last time we had the other hurricane about 9 years ago, we thought it wasn’t going to be nothing (but) it was bad, a lot of flooding, no power about two weeks…don’t want that this time.”

And neither does Fant.

“We advised our son who lives basically in the downtown Houston area… we advised him to leave and he’s on the road right now.”

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