Watch CBSN Live

Emergency Teams At The Ready

Hurricane Bret has been downgraded to a tropical storm as it moves inland in Texas. Authorities warn, though, that there is still a real danger of flooding and tornadoes.

The storm narrowly missed several major cities like Corpus Christi, instead, pounding farmland in sparsely populated Kennedy County. But officials in Corpus Christi are not letting their guard down yet.

Peter Maises of the American Red Cross says his organization is "staying in place because the danger isn't over yet. We have about two shelters open and we're sheltering approximately 9,000 people in the state of Texas, so we're there ready to go until the disaster is over."

Has it been easy trying to get residents to evacuate their homes?

"It's been pretty easy," he says. "These people have gone through this type of disaster before, and they know what to do when the emergency strikes."

His advice to residents: "take shelter, stay inside, be safe. Take all the precautions you need to take care of yourself."

The director of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, James Lee Witt, concurs. "Heed those early warnings and be prepared," Witt told CBS This Morning Co-Anchor Thalia Assuras.

FEMA was prepared for a lot more damage from this storm, says Witt.

"We've had bottled water and contractors ready to move in. We've had generators, pumps, cots, plastic sheeting, everything," he said. "But it's better that we could prepare like this for the worst and pray that it doesn't happen, because, you know, the impact of one of these storms could be severe. We have a long season ahead of us."

Might people have a false sense of security because Bret did not hit as hard as was thought?

"I don't think so," says Witt. "I think, for one thing, all of us have worked hard and we thank the media for what you've done in the awareness campaign that people do need to be prepared. I think they're doing a good job. I know the media is, and I think the people are listening. We've been talking about this for 6½ years and I'm very proud that they did evacuate. It's much easier to rebuild a house; we can't replace that life."

View CBS News In