Grayson County commissioners agreed Tuesday to allow the County’s disaster declaration to lapse at the end of its seven-day period on Saturday. Grayson County Judge Drue Bynum signed the declaration on Sunday in an effort to help the County deal with the winter weather that turned highways into parking lots and left people stranded in their vehicles.

Grayson County commissioners agreed Tuesday to allow the County’s disaster declaration to lapse at the end of its seven-day period on Saturday. Grayson County Judge Drue Bynum signed the declaration on Sunday in an effort to help the County deal with the winter weather that turned highways into parking lots and left people stranded in their vehicles.


Sarah Somers, Grayson County’s emergency management director, said the County would have to do something to extend the disaster designation beyond that point. She said she does not expect the disastrous weather conditions to extend beyond Sunday.


Somers said many people in the County were still dealing with the storm on Tuesday. "Many people in the County still can’t get out of their own neighborhoods," she said. County Commissioner Bart Lawrence, Precinct 4, said he wanted to make sure people understood that County officials know that just because the sun came out on Tuesday didn’t mean that the storm had passed completely.


"They are still calling me," Lawrence said about people who called County commissioners wanting to know why the County crews had not been out removing ice from County roads.


Commissioner Jeff Whitmire said the answer to that question is simple: "We don’t have the equipment to do that." He said his crew is prepared to deal with general road repair work, but they don’t have the kind of plows and other equipment needed to clear roads of ice and snow. And, he said, they can’t afford them in the number that would be required to clear all of the roads in the county. Whitmire and Somers discussed the fact that having that kind of equipment on hand, even though it may never be used or may be used only rarely, comes down to an economic choice. In the past, County commissioners have not felt the benefit the County would get, on the rare occasions that ice becomes a problem, was big enough to spend the money it would take to purchase the equipment.


Somers told commissioners her office has been tracking the expense incurred in fighting the storm and will be helping local cities and towns report their damage to the state for any federal assistance that may be made available to such entities. She noted that there have already been reports of some significant road damage in some areas.


She said she does not think, based on previous experience with such situations, that there will be any government money that will be made available to small business owners who have lost income due to the storm.


Somers said there were lots of lessons to be learned from the storm and the reaction to it. Some of them will be lessons in how well things worked, and some will be lessons in how well things didn’t work. Either way, she said, they are worth learning. Some of those lessons will point out areas where County leaders may want to invest more money, time or training. One example Somers gave was the selection of trucks for County personnel to drive. She said many of the trucks recently purchased were not four-wheel drive, which became a problem when staff started trying to respond to requests for help during the storm.