Grayson County waiting on disaster declaration for winter weather

Jerrie Whiteley
Herald Democrat
A file photo from 2017 shows the Panda Power plant in Sherman. Officials with ERCOT said high demand and unexpected plant outages across the state have led widespread blackouts.

Update: As of 4 p.m. Grayson County has been added to the Texas disaster declaration list.

Grayson County is still waiting to be added to the list of 77 Texas counties for which President Joe Biden has approved disaster declarations. Grayson County Office of Emergency Management Director Sarah Somers said Monday all of the correct paperwork has been submitted by the county and officials are just waiting on a response. 

The declaration will make funds available for local water providers to pay for repairs and it will also make available money for local residents to apply for grants to help off set the costs of repairs needed at homes.

County commissioners are working to help assess the need for water in unincorporated areas, Somers said. 

"The County Judge ordered that County Staging Area be established so that we can receive shipments of water from the state to get out to our cities to give to the residents and the commissioners are making sure we are taking care of the unincorporated areas along with some fire departments," Somers said in a phone conversation early Monday morning.

Grayson College police officers prepare to deliver water to students at the school's residence halls.

She stressed that the ongoing water issues pose a rapidly changing situation and it is best for people to watch for up to date information about water in their area on their provider's websites. 

Once water is restored, it is important that people follow commands like boil orders and conservation orders so water tanks can be refilled quickly.

In a situation report released by Somers' office Sunday evening, the county urged Grayson County property owners to complete the Self Reporting Damage Survey to help the state identify damages across Texas and help emergency management officials gain an understanding of damages that occurred during the recent winter weather.

Officials with the Grayson County Office of Emergency Management reported significant electric, water outages and issues following winter storms February 2021 storms.

The statement said the information is "needed to provide information to FEMA and highlight the need for federal disaster assistance for individuals. The voluntary survey, available in both English and Spanish, can be accessed by visiting: Reporting damage to the Texas Division of Emergency Management is a voluntary activity, is not a substitute for reporting damage to an insurance agency and does not guarantee disaster relief assistance."

Somers said they are trying to get that declaration from the federal government as quickly as possible to help with the costs of the local recovery efforts in Grayson County.

Grayson County officials are working to disaster declaration for winter storm.