Storm damage exceeds million, assessment says

A May 8 storm caused more than $1 million in damage, according to federal agencies that toured parts of the county.

Individual damage assessment amounted to an estimated $543,000, according to Bob Ellsworth, county emergency management director. An estimated $640,000 in infrastructure damage was estimated countywide.

A joint damage assessment team consisting of FEMA, SEMA, Texas County and city emergency management directors toured most of the county May 14. Damage was assessed as destroyed, major damage, minor damage and affected. Ellsworth led the team, showing the “worst first” in order to see the most damage in the shortest amount of time.

“Most of the tour was done by drive-by,” Ellsworth said. “City EMDs, Art Thomas, Tammy Spencer and Rod Sullins did an outstanding job recording the damage by taking pictures immediately following the storm. The key to the efficient damage assessment of individual property was having the location and pictures recorded prior to the joint damage assessment tour.”

On May 19, another joint damage assessment team toured the county. It focused on infrastructure, including debris removal, municipal buildings and property and township roads and bridges.

“Again the success for the assessment was the thoroughness of the cities recording the damage,” Ellsworth said. “Not all damage was looked at in the townships, though, and it is important that the townships contact their respective commissioner and let them know of the damage.”

Ellsworth said the public should be aware of the two types of damage assessment: individual and public assistance.

“The individual assistance damage assessment is focused on primary residence only and may or may not have any interaction with the residence,” he said. “This information is needed by the governor so that he can present a request to the president to declare a disaster area, qualifying for federal disaster assistance aid.

“A public assistance damage assessment focuses on the property that provides services to the public, such and water, sewer, electricity, roads and bridges and municipal property and organizations.”

Any questions about emergency management or preparedness can be directed to Ellsworth at 417-967-3222 or 573-261-0569. Persons can also e-mail robert.g.ellsworth@gmail.com.

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