The Seabreeze Beacon

Lessons Learned … The Winds of Beryl


Letter to the Chambers County Office of Emergency Management

  Sirs, we knew she was coming … we were warned! You warned us! Most of us were glued to The Weather Channel, not just to see where Jim Cantore was, but to get expert viewpoints of the potential impact of Hurricane Beryl on our community. 

  All experts agreed on one issue – there would be power outages. Beryl was going to hit land as a Category 1 hurricane, possibly a Category 2, due to the strong winds associated with Beryl…strong winds. Tornadoes could be spawned due to the strong winds of Beryl. There would be power outages.

  And Chambers County was in the infamous “cone”. You knew this, sirs. You knew in plenty of time before Beryl landed in Matagorda. Power outages mean no electricity … no electricity for air conditioning, refrigeration, communication devices. This means that the people of Chambers County would be hot, have no ice, and have no cool water. Oxygen machines would not work, C-PAPs would not work, medicine could not be refrigerated.

  So, did you not anticipate these probabilities? Here in Winnie, FEMA built the “dome” on the high school campus to serve as a shelter for emergency situations. It has generators for power and plenty of room for people to seek relief from the heat. It has refrigerators for medicines and plenty of electrical outlets so people can charge their electronic devices. It has plenty of room so people with oxygen machines and C-PAP machines can relax and receive their treatments. It has plenty of room to store water and first aid needs.

  So why was the dome not open? Chambers County issued a declaration of emergency before Beryl made landfall so the county obviously expected “doo doo” to hit the fan. So, why were no arrangements made to deal with the power outages that you knew were coming? Why? Don’t blame it on FEMA. Look in the mirror.

  Why was the Winnie-Stowell Community Building not open before Beryl made landfall for residents to ride out the storm and not have to deal with the lack of electricity? There are monster generators connected to the building and there are plenty of restrooms and a huge refrigerator for medicines and an ice machine.

  Why was White’s Park Community Building not open? Anahuac and surrounding areas of Double Bayou, Smith Point, and Oak Island were blasted with high winds and water. Yet the residents have no relief from the heat. Oh, wait … thank you to the Anahuac Masonic Lodge for opening its doors for those who need relief and want to charge their electronics. Why isn’t the county providing this relief? Which leads to another issue … why isn’t the county working with the local churches in establishing Memorandums of Understanding (MOU) that state that if a church or organization provides shelter, water, etc. to people in a declared emergency that the church or organization would be reimbursed for its expenses if they opened their doors to the people during an emergency?

  The grocery stores are now open, thank goodness. But before they were open, social media was flooded with people asking about who was giving out water. It is always the first 24 hours after a storm that the need is the greatest. This is when the county should be prepared to have stations open immediately throughout the county to pass out water, etc.

  Emergency Management 101 talks about establishing MOUs with area grocery stores and distributors. We have HEB, Walmart, and Budweiser. All these retailers have thousands of pallets of water available. Did Chambers County contact them to provide water to the county so the county could distribute water to its residents?

  Here is the press release sent out by the county Wednesday, July10, 2024 for Hurricane Beryl update:



Chambers County Officials and employees have been hard at work over the past several days responding to Hurricane Beryl and its impact. While it seems we may be on the downhill side of this event, the recovery effort for many is just beginning. Below are several important reminders and updates from the County related to this event. 

  1. Most Chambers County Departments have returned to work as of today, July 10, 2024. Please contact offices directly for information related to hours of operation.
  2. However, the Chambers County Golf Course will remain closed through Friday, July 12, 2024, as employees clean up and make repairs to facilities.
  3. All Citizen’s Collection Stations (box sites) and the Landfill are open to residents. There is currently no trailer length restriction at box sites for residents hauling disaster-related tree or shrub debris.
  4. We have received word that disaster assessment teams will be arriving soon. These teams will be made up of TDEM and AgriLife Extension employees. All surveyors will have official identification badges and property owners should not hesitate to ask for proof of identification.
  5. FEMA individual assistance is not currently available. If it becomes available, we will update you. If you want to monitor the availability of assistance, please visit FEMA’s website at: 


Finally, Chambers County Officials remain in constant contact with energy providers. Both Entergy and CenterPoint have brought in additional crews and are hard at work restoring power.

If you have questions, please contact Chambers County Emergency Management at 409-267-2445.

 Well, friends, do you see anything about relief stations set up to provide Chambers County residents with a place to go to escape the heat and have a cool bottle of water or hot coffee? Is there a station set up where people can go to charge their electronics? Other than the statement “Chambers County officials and employees have been hard at work responding to Hurricane Beryl and its impact” … do you know what they are doing? Have you been impacted by their “hard work”? But, thank goodness, most of the Chamber County departments have returned to work! That surely eases the pain for those without power!

  How many more hurricanes or tropical storms or any kind of disaster situation do we have to experience before Chambers County Emergency Management gets the basics of emergency management right? You do not only plan on dealing with the aftermath, you plan on providing shelter before the storm and relief plans immediately afterwards.

  There is a possibility that Category 1 hurricanes are not given the gravity of higher ranked storms but the results are the same … power outages.

  I welcome a response from CC OEM. I will print it in its entirety without any edits. And, I will respond accordingly. So everyone knows, I was trained in emergency management when I was the communications director for former Harris County Judge Robert Eckels. As such, I was also the Public Information Officer for Harris County Office of Emergency Management. We attended dozens of disaster drills to prepare for such emergencies. We dealt with Hurricanes Katrina and Rita and managed the 28,000 refugees from New Orleans who made the Astrodome home for several weeks.

  Let us hope that when the next hurricane comes our way, and it will this summer, that CC OEM takes into consideration the people who cannot afford generators, the people who do need shelter to ride out a storm because of oxygen machines, CPaps, and medication that needs to be refrigerated.

 That is why you exist, CC OEM … to manage emergency situations.


Gloria Way

Managing Editor, Publisher

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