Vacationing Oklahomans wait out hurricane

Wednesday, July 23rd 2008, 7:01 pm
By: News 9

By Alex Cameron, NEWS 9

SOUTH PADRE ISLAND, Texas -- An Oklahoma family felt the wrath of Hurricane Dolly firsthand as the storm blew through their South Padre Island vacation.

Edmond resident Steve Anderson and his family have a big get together on South Padre Island. This year, Hurricane Dolly has forced the family to wait out the storm.

"It's extremely windy, as we're getting one of the walls that are going by us," said Steve Anderson.

Anderson and about 25 other family members rode out the rough weather in a high-rise hotel-condominium complex on the south end of the island.

"From the 12th floor vantage point, we could hear glass breaking," Anderson said. "We could see tile floating through the air, coming down."

Anderson said they were prepared to leave, but decided to stay when no mandatory evacuation order was issued. He said they're treating the whole thing like an adventure under a caution flag.

"We are not going to take any chances. We're going to watch this," Anderson said. "We're still watching the local weather, the Weather Channel and I can see the fellow out there right now doing a live broadcast next to me. We'll take shelter if we need to."

And then there are Oklahomans like Bunnie and Dean Morgensen who will head into South Padre and other affected areas once Dolly's gone.

"We have a passion to help people, we make a difference," Red Cross volunteer Bunnie Morgensen said.

They are two of about 200 Red Cross volunteers staging in San Antonio, ready to go wherever they're needed.

"Our hope is that they can turn around and come right back and everything is fine. That's the ideal situation, but of course if that's not the case, they're prepared to stay there for a pretty long time," Vince Hernandez, a Red Cross volunteer from central Oklahoma said.

The length of time the bridge to South Padre Island will remain closed is unknown, but Steve Anderson said he has no regrets about staying.

"This is an incredible experience to see God's power and the waves and the ocean and all the things that are going on down here," he said.