More than 1,600 Hurricane Laura evacuees flee to San Antonio

SAN ANTONIO (KTSA News) – Some came in buses, but most of the 1, 600-plus hurricane evacuees arrived at the processing center in San Antonio’s East Side in private vehicles.  They checked in at a parking lot on Gembler Road, and Wednesday morning, the line of cars extended nearly all the way to AT&T Parkway.

Carl Mahoney and his wife survived Hurricane Harvey, but they were taking no chances with Hurricane Laura.

“Harvey messed us up, but we aren’t taking any more chances.   When they say leave–bye bye, bye bye,” said Mahoney, who came to San Antonio from Orange, Texas.  “We got three feet of flood waters from Harvey, so when they say leave, we’re leaving.”

LaToya Johnson is from Port Arthur.

“When they said the water would rise to 14 feet, we left.  My house is about 18 feet high,” Johnson told KTSA News as she waited to turn into the parking lot on Gembler Road.

Brittney Kirkwood and her husband have five children, so they got out of Baytown as fast as they could.

“We’ve gotta move.  We can’t stay long. We’ve got to make sure everybody’s safe,” Kirkwood said.

Arthur Rice has weathered some hurricanes, but there’s something about Laura that prompted him to flee.

“She’s got me running this time. I’m taking no chances,” he said.

Bria Paul from Port Arthur is hoping and praying she’ll have a home to return to when Hurricane Laura, a Category 4 storm ,  is gone.

“I’m hoping for a  smooth transition, so that we can go home and be back with our families and get back to our everyday lives,” said Paul.

But for now, she’ll be staying at a hotel in San Antonio.  Joe Arrington with the San Antonio Fire Department told KTSA News they’re using hotels to house evacuees instead of opening up shelters in gymnasiums or other large one-room facilities.  He said they want to avoid congregate settings as the pandemic continues.  The evacuees also are being screened for COVID-19.



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