Oklahoma prepares for possible Hurricane Ike evacuees

Tuesday, September 9th 2008, 4:44 pm
By: News 9

By Charles Bassett, NEWS 9

Hurricane Ike roared ashore in Cuba tonight - ravaging homes and killing at least four people. More than one million people in Ike's path have evacuated.

Ike is still several days away from making landfall in the states. But the affects of the storm are already being felt in the metro.

Oklahoma City sheltered nearly 2,000 evacuees from Gustav, and now more could be on the way.

No official evacuations have been made, but Texas officials have been asking questions about Oklahoma's shelter, which can hold up to 4,000 people.

Less than a week after the last of the evacuees from Hurricane Gustav packed up and went back home the Oklahoma City shelter is poised to take in a new round of evacuees.

"We're just basically preparing and dotting our ‘I's and crossing our ‘T's making sure that everything is prepared in the event we were to have a massive evacuation out of the Gulf state area again," Vince Hernandez with the Central Oklahoma Red Cross said.

Texas officials are waiting to see the path and strength of the storm before ordering evacuations. The Red Cross said Oklahoma is capable of handling up to 5,000 evacuees.

"That doesn't mean we're expecting 5,000 people to come, what we're saying is that we want to be prepared to care for that many people should the need arise," Hernandez said.

Evacuations have already started for Oklahoma City based Devon Energy. The oil company is pulling at least 200 employees off two platforms in the gulf.

"We've just completed the process of pulling off all of our crew from our two deep-water drilling rigs, Chip Minty with Devon Energy said. "Each rig has about 100 people on board."

Devon was in the process of returning workers to the platforms following Hurricane Gustav, before having to pull the workers out once again. The evacuations are costing the company a fortune.

"It costs us about a quarter of a million dollars to evacuate one of our deep-water rigs," Minty said. "That's pulling 100 people off the decks of one of those rigs and bringing those people to shore. That does not include bringing them back out once the storm clears."

Devon said a significant rise in gas prices from the hurricane will not likely be seen unless there is significant damage to the drilling platforms, like the damage that was caused by Hurricane Katrina.