South Texans urged to evacuate as storm intensifies

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Texans in Corpus Christi and the surrounding coastal towns have been encouraged to evacuate ahead of Hurricane Harvey.

For now, Corpus Christi remains under a voluntary evacuation order. Leaders have urged people to do so if they can and it appears some are following the orders.

All day Thursday residents flocked to a local gym to board buses bound for San Antonio. The free trips out of the city will resume on Friday.

The decision to leave isn’t easy for many folks. Many said they are worried about leaving their homes unattended especially since they don’t know how long they’ll be gone. The buses bound for San Antonio are not set to return until Corpus Christi officials give the all clear.

Angela Marker is one of the dozens who took advantage of the free ride.

“My house isn't very stable,” she said. “And especially for them being so young, I would just rather be out of here for their safety.”

The National Hurricane Center has warned residents that conditions are expected to deteriorate throughout Friday and it might be too dicey for people to make last-minute preparations. That meant Thursday was many people's last chance to board up and stock up on food, water, and all the other essentials.

“We were invited to go to Laredo which is out of the way a bit,” said Irene Armendariz, who decided to stay in town. “But that's three days, and they want us to stay at a hotel so no thank you.”

Those fleeing don't know what their homes will look like when the return.

“If that thing comes in as a Category 3 or 4 at the last minute, it's really gonna mess us up,” said Pedro Martinez, who will evacuate. “I'm just kind of afraid. I don't know what to do, you know?”

Many of the normally busy hotels along the shoreline have already closed. Many who live close to the water or in low areas are not taking any chances. Storm surges could be anywhere from 6 to 9 feet.

The mayor of Corpus Christi is expected to hold a news conference at 3 p.m. Friday but a city spokesman said it will be moved up if more information needs to be provided sooner.