ENNIS - A flurry of activity is under way at First United Methodist Church in Ennis as its activity center has been turned into an emergency response center for the American Red Cross.

According to Ennis City Manager Steve Howerton, the decision to have the shelter came Wednesday night as predictions regarding the water level of the Trinity River corridor became available from the National Weather Service.

“We were contacted last night about 8:45 by the county and the American Red Cross to set up a shelter for the families that may be affected if the water level breaks the levee along the corridor,” he said. “The last time the levee was broken was in 1990 with a water level of 38 feet and the predictions for the water level for Friday are 39 feet.

“With that amount of rainfall there is a great concern for the families in the general area of India to Rosser,” he said.

Members of the sheriff’s department went door-to-door Wednesday night to each family with the information of the predicted levee breach and to offer the option of voluntary evacuation.

“We did not have anyone come to the shelter last night so we are just on standby waiting for anyone that might want to come,” said Angie Six, shelter director for the church. “We are prepared to offer a dry place to sleep and something hot to eat but we are hoping that it does not get to the point where mandatory evacuations take place just because of what that means to the people that have to leave their homes behind.”

The American Red Cross deployed supplies for the church to use at the shelter but Helping Hands of Ennis is also prepared with clothing should that be necessary.

“Helping Hands is always really great for offering clothing and items that we might not have available so we are sure that whatever happens we are prepared to take care of whoever comes through our doors,” Six said.

As of press time, the church shelter and the city of Ennis were on standby with briefings being held every three hours to keep everyone up to date.

“We have received word that we could have between 60-100 people that are displaced arriving at the shelter but that is subject to change depending on Mother Nature,” Howerton said. “All we can do is be prepared for whatever happens.”

To check the status on the Trinity River corridor, visit the National Weather Service Web site at www.srh.noaa.gov/fwd/

E-mail Candie at candie.adams@ennisjournal.com