Dallas expects to shelter as many as 1,000 Harvey evacuees

Published on Friday, 25 August 2017 11:39 - Written by

(KYTX) As many as 1,000 evacuees are expected to take shelter in Dallas as Hurricane Harvey pounds the Texas coast this weekend, officials say.

Friday morning, the Dallas Office of Emergency Management wrote on Twitter that the Walnut Hill Recreation Center on Midway Road in northern Dallas would be the first shelter opened to evacuees.

Earlier Friday, the city’s emergency operations center was anticipating notice from the state government to open a shelter, WFAA’s Tanya Eiserer learned.

Walnut Hill Recreation Center was one of three rec centers included in a Dallas OEM shelter plan unveiled Thursday night. The Tommie M. Allen Recreation Center in southern Dallas and Samuell Grand Recreation Center in eastern Dallas are also equipped to become shelters.

Together, the three shelters can hold 1,000 evacuees.

The Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center downtown can also be used as a “megashelter” and house up to 5,000 people.

There had been no official word of evacuees coming to Dallas when the plan was revealed Thursday. The city, though, said it has learned from past incidents of extreme weather -- namely, Hurricane Katrina in 2005, when thousands took shelter here.

“Katrina was the first time the city of Dallas ever did those large shelters, and we did not have a playbook at that time,” Dallas OEM Director Rocky Vaz said. “We learned as we went.”

“Those lessons learned have been taken into consideration. We absolutely have a playbook [for Harvey], we know exactly how to do it.”