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Thousands of Texans Flee Oncoming Hurricane Ike

Federal and state authorities have organized an evacuation and communication program to prepare for Hurricane Ike, which is expected to hit the Texas Gulf Coast late Friday. Houston Mayor Bill White explains the extensive measures being taken before winds and rain sweep the city.

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  • JIM LEHRER:

    Now, Texas prepares for Hurricane Ike.

    A short time ago, Jeffrey Brown spoke with Houston Mayor Bill White.

  • JEFFREY BROWN:

    Mayor White, how extensive are the evacuations to this point? And how well is it going?

  • BILL WHITE, Mayor of Houston, Texas:

    Well, there are about a quarter-of-a-million people in my county alone, and hundreds of thousands of others in the Texas Gulf Coast which are having to evacuate on fairly short notice because of the turn that this storm took. And, so far, it’s going well.

  • JEFFREY BROWN:

    Some of this is mandatory. And, other people, you’re letting decide for themselves, right? How — explain how that works.

  • BILL WHITE:

    Well, you know, there are certain areas which we call the storm surge zones. This is where the forecasts say there could be a wall of water 10 to 20 feet high coming at you.

    And, for those individuals, we’re asking them to get out. And thank goodness hundreds of thousands are. But there will be others who need to make their judgment based on the fact that we could have winds of over 100 miles per hour in the nation’s fourth largest city. For most folks, it will be best for them to sort of hunker down in place, keep away from anything that could be flying glass, and for us to regroup right here in Houston.

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