State And FEMA Officials Tour Grayson Co. Ice Storm Damage - - No One Gets You Closer

State And FEMA Officials Tour Grayson Co. Ice Storm Damage


SHERMAN, TX -- A few state and federal emergency officials stopped at a dozen sites in Grayson County while checking out storm damage today.

Officials from FEMA and the Texas Division of Emergency Management went all around in a TAPS bus looking for ice storm damage, and there's only a certain type of damage they will consider.

Following last month's ice storm, Grayson County emergency management coordinator Sarah Somers says the county must meet a $423,000 threshold of damage to be eligible for state and federal assistance.

"We're trying to actually quantify the damages to our streets and public structures to see if we meet that threshold that would allow us to receive some federal disaster assistance," says Somers.

Sherman city engineer and public works director Clay Barnett says there is sporadic damage like potholes, and they've had problems with bridges like one on Fallon Drive near Midway Mall.

"We've got a lot of separation between the bridge and the existing asphalt, just a lot more extensive damage than what we've seen throughout town," says Barnett.

Somers says the information gathered during the visit will go through state emergency management officials and then to FEMA along with the other counties damaged during the ice storm.

"There's some rain gutters that are damaged and the two hangars that's got some internal structural beams that look like they have been damaged," says North Texas Regional Airport director Mike Shahan, referring to hangars occupied by Lake Texoma Jet Center.

Somers says they also visited the airport, the Grayson College indoor baseball facility, and the Van Alstyne Community Center building. One place they did not visit was homes or businesses, like one  Denison florist on Morton Street.

"It built up four inches of ice on top of that shade screen," says Castleberry Florist owner Shawna Lee. "It just pulled it down. I'm very happy that it did not fall into my building or in through my windows."

Somers says the state is only looking at damage to government buildings and infrastructure. 

"It is in the insurance stage right now and I also have someone coming who will you know take it all apart for me," says Lee.

Somers says there's also city and county overtime costs from rescuing stranded drivers. Barnett says the city can make the repairs, but they could do it better with federal help.  There's no word yet when or if the county will get any assistance.