San Antonio clearing hotel space to accomodate close to 3,000 Hurricane Laura evacuees

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Staff were continuing to prepare rooms as hundreds of evacuees continue to arrive in the Alamo City.

SAN ANTONIO — According to San Antonio Fire officials, more than 2,500 evacuees had arrived in San Antonio to be screened and provided with shelter as of Wednesday night as Hurricane Laura bears down on east Texas. Mayor Ron Nirenberg said there was no warning on the massive turnout.

All day Wednesday, long lines of bumper-to-bumper buses and cars were spilling out onto Gembler Road and snaking their way past AT&T Center Parkway.

“There wasn’t a whole lot of warning,” the mayor said.

Mayor Nirenberg and Bexar County Judge Nelson Wolff said that, due to the unexpected number of evacuees, the city and county is having to respond quickly.

“They came,” Wolff said. “And they came fast.”

Chopper 5 took to the air to observe the long lines outside the shelter spots, which are hotels. Evacuees were seen lined up outside the Riverwalk Marriott.

“We have a lot of empty rooms in hotels around this city,” the mayor said. “But, you know, we don’t have staff. So people are having to recall staff to get those rooms operational.”

The city is working on more hotel space, but the mayor said takes time to get the rooms ready to go.

“We are trying to scale up to 2,000 rooms,” Nirenberg said. “And I think we are getting close to that this evening.”

He said staff are working minute by minute monitoring the capacity. At two hotels, the city has even set up medical stations.

“I wouldn’t be in any other city if I was an evacuee,” he said.

The check-in process is taking a while because evacuees are screened and  receiving a wristband. Nirenberg said it’s unclear how many evacuees the city will receive in total.