A couple of weekends ago, a crowd of 200 gathered in Milano to dedicate a building everyone hopes won’t be used very much for its primary purpose.
It’s Milam County’s new disaster relief shelter, one whose construction was triggered by the Hurricane Ike experience in 2008, with plenty of fresh memories of Hurricane Katrina three years previously.
While Katrina didn’t bring much weather to Milam County, it did bring something else, thousands upon thousands of evacuees from the Texas Gulf Coast.
During the Friday afternoon of that deluge of humanity, travel time on the eight miles of US 79 between Rockdale and Milano was one hour.
Thanks to a lot of work by county government and the Milano Volunteer Fire Department, if and when such events happens again there will be a first-class facility in Milano to house our neighbors from Houston, Galveston and points Gulf-ward.
Irony being what it is, the shelter was dedicated in the midst of what has been the calmest hurricane season in many years, according to the Department of Atmospheric Sciences at Texas A&M.
Dr. Robert Korty associate professor, notes that through Oct. 1, none of the 11 named storms which formed in the Atlantic-Gulf of Mexico made landfall in the United States.
(Last week, a 12th, Tropical Storm Karen, weakened so much it was downgraded to a tropical depression and no warnings or watches were issued.)
Dr. Korty added that while “hurricane season” runs through the end of November, mid-September is the peak time for hurricane development. It’s also been a slow storm summer and fall in the Pacific, he notes.
Why? Drier air and, frankly, luck.
Will Texas’ luck hold out? Not forever. You can be sure at some point in the future evacuees will again come streaming into our county.
And they will be welcomed and cared for.—M.B.