MESQUITE, Texas (CBSDFW.COM) – Thousands of families who live along the U.S. Gulf Coast are coming to North Texas to safely ride out the storm.
At times, a line of cars approached two miles long outside an evacuee welcome center in Mesquite on Wednesday. Families waited for hours to get their hotel assignments.
“Four hours,” said Pauline Louis, who evacuated with her family from Port Arthur. “I just put it in God’s hands.”
Other evacuees have family in North Texas they can stay with.
“It’s not going to be easy,” said Nancy Pennartz, who left Lake Charles, Louisiana for a relative’s home in North Richland Hills on Tuesday. “That’s why we’re here. We’ve got family. You stick to your family and friends. Oh, yeah. That’s what pulls you through. And your faith.”
She’s dealing with the uncertainty of Hurricane Laura on top of a cancer battle.
“What am I going to come home to?” she said. “Am I going to have a home? And if I have to have some more chemo, and it makes me sick, where am I going to go? It’s that unknown that scares me.”
Still, her family is grateful to have each other.
“I’m just thankful we’re away from the storm,” said Chris Pennartz, Nancy’s son. “I can replace property, but I can’t replace lives.”
At another evacuation center in Ellis County, a family from Port Arthur arrived to escape the hurricane’s path.
“I told my sister, ‘you know what. We got the kids. Let’s just get out of here,’” said Glenda Moody. “Of course, we didn’t want to leave. You don’t want to leave your home… everything behind. But, what do you do? I’d rather lose everything and we’re okay.”
How quickly these families can get back to their homes all depends on what kind of damage this hurricane leaves behind. Many evacuees are prepared to be in North Texas for weeks.