“We just had stuck people down on the highway that couldn’t go anywhere,” he said. “Some of them were running low on fuel so they didn’t feel comfortable staying out in their car all night. There were motor vehicles on the road that either had young children or elderly who ran out of gas or supplies and things like that. So, that’s really what cut us up.”
Harwell opened shelters at First Baptist Churches in Santo and Gordon to help get those stranded off of the highways and into a place of warmth and safety. He also had plans with the Red Cross to open shelters in Mineral Wells in the event of power outages, but, he added, they were fortunate not to worry about that.
Although he said the county’s Emergency Management responded as best it could, Harwell said he has many ideas of how things might be done different next time something like this happens, including possibly setting up a command post as a base of operations.
“One of the things we’ve talked about for the future is possibly getting the shelters opened sooner,” he said. “We need to get the word out so we can try to get people off the highway and into the shelters so we don’t have to go out later in the night when its colder.
“Hopefully next time, (TxDOT) will be out prior and pre-treat and sand the roads so we don’t have the same problems.”