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LIVE FROM THE HEADLINES

Texans Prepare for Possible Hurricane

Aired July 14, 2003 - 19:08   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Well, back here at home now, a couple of stories to tell you about.
Some anxious folks along the Texas coast awaiting word right now about Claudette. She's still a tropical storm sitting in the Gulf of Mexico, but that could grow to become the season's first hurricane and might just take a run here at the U.S.

Tonight, some in Texas are bracing for the worst after weather forecasters issue hurricane warnings from Galveston to Corpus Christi. And that is where we are going to find John Zarrella, who joins us live with more -- John.

JOHN ZARRELLA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Anderson, you know, with Claudette meandering out there in the Gulf of Mexico it was hard for people here in the Corpus Christi area to figure out exactly what they should do.

Some folks prepared. Some folks went to the beach.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ZARRELLA (voice-over): What a disappointing first trip to the beach this has been for 3-year-old Payton Kuykendall from Oklahoma. She was stung by a jellyfish and now Claudette is coming. The Kuykendalls, on vacation in Corpus Christi, say for them, the storm should be a breeze.

KYLE KUYKENDALL, TOURIST: In Oklahoma we have tornadoes all the time, but it's all in the spring. And so, you know, 85 mile an hour winds that doesn't scare us so much. That's just a thunderstorm.

ZARRELLA: While it was uncertain where Claudette would eventually come ashore, experienced residents weren't taking any chances.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's better to board up because they still don't know where the storm is going to yet.

ZARRELLA: Before noon, Floyd Williams was at the Home Depot buying plywood for the windows.

FLOYD WILLIAMS, CORPUS CHRISTI RESIDENT: I'm not going to take any chances. I'm going ahead and boarding up some windows and just hope for the best.

ZARRELLA: In Port Mansfield to the south, the scene was no different. Storm savvy Texans got ready.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I've been through Carla (ph), Beula, Alan (ph), Bret, Gilbert, and, you know, if it's been out in the Gulf this long and the winds are still no higher than they are then I don't really see too much of a threat.

ZARRELLA: With clear skies along nearly the entire Texas coastline, it was tough for folks to get too worked up over Claudette.

But a couple of water spouts off Galveston Island are a clear warning trouble is on the way.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ZARRELLA: The last big hit here by a hurricane in the Corpus Christi area was Celia in 1970. So for the past 33 years, they've had a lot of near misses but no direct hits.

And it may well be, Anderson, that this time around Claudette is another one of those close calls. And they'd be glad if that happens -- Anderson.

COOPER: Yes, I think we'd all be glad about that. John Zarrella, thanks for the report.

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