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Hurricane causes widespread outages

July 10, 2024 - 00:00
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  • Examiner photo by Ana Cosino-Mize
    Examiner photo by Ana Cosino-Mize

Hurricane Beryl devastated Texas making landfall near Matagorda around 4 a.m. July 8, as a Category 1 storm. Beryl killed three people and knocked out power to nearly 3 million.

Grimes County is in recovery mode with many residents still without electricity. Sustained winds reached 35-50 mph with gusts up to 70 mph. The winds downed large trees, broke windows, damaged roofs, and blew over an 18-wheeler tractor-trailer. Rainfall totals reached over 4inches throughout the county.

Grimes County Emergency Management Coordinator, David Lilly said the county is planning to distribute water and ice locally (details are pending).

Temperatures were forecasted to reach over 90-degrees July 9. Bedias Community Center, 3652 Main Street in Bedias, is open as a cooling center for anyone needing to charge devices or cool down. Call 979–575–0267 for more information. Lilly said additional cooling centers are pending.

The City of Navasota opened the Navasota Public Library (1411 E. Washington Avenue in Navasota) and the Navasota Center (101 Stadium Drive in Navasota) as cooling centers as well.

Entergy Texas and Mid-South Electric Cooperative both have extensive power outages in Grimes County including the town of Anderson. As of 11 a.m. July 9, Entergy reported approximately 219,000 customers without power throughout Texas. Power has been restored to around 141,000 customers. Entergy said they hope to have power restored to 50% of its customers by end–of–day Wednesday, July 10.

MidSouth showed 16,640 outages as of 12:17 p.m. including 3,000 customers in Grimes County.

Entergy Texas Information

In a release from Entergy the company said, “Weather impacts from Hurricane Beryl caused signifi cant damage to Entergy Texas transmission lines and distribution equipment. Preliminary damage assessments to the distribution system in Texas show approximately 110 poles, 30 transformers and 450 spans of wire damaged or destroyed. Special equipment like helicopters, air boats, and high-water vehicles are being used to access hard to reach areas.

“A restoration workforce of more than 1,300 are in the field helping to restore service for customers affected by Hurricane Beryl, and the company continues to secure additional resources and people to expedite the restoration process. Crews and contractors are prepared to work long hours and throughout the night to fully restore power as quickly as possible.”

Entergy said because restoration times are based on the severity of damage, restoration could take up to a week in the hardest hit areas.

MidSouth Electric Information

MidSouth said in a press release July 8, that all their substations are intact. “Two of the 19 substations feeding our lines are not currently energized. We are working closely with transmission providers and waiting to receive their restoration timeline.”

“Forty-nine out of 60 feeders are severely damaged and will require repair. There are numerous broken poles and cross-arms, and multiple locations of lines tangled in very large, downed trees outside of MidSouth right-of-ways. Damage was caused by both high winds and lightning strikes.”

Safety tips for customers without power.

• Stay away from downed power lines and assume they are energized.

• Report outages.

• Use your portable generator safely. DO NOT run it in enclosed spaces. Only connect your generator to the whole house if the connection was installed by a licensed electrician. This prevents back feed to the distribution system.

• Minimize opening refrigerator or freezer doors to keep food cold for longer.

• Please stay clear of line workers as they work to safely restore power.

• Don’t walk or drive through flood waters. Just six inches of moving water can knock you down, and one foot of water can sweep your vehicle away.

City of Navasota

Navasota fared well overall. City staff are assessing damages at facilities, parks, equipment and infrastructure. Initial assessments show downed trees and limbs, minor water leaks at a couple locations, minor damage or loss of power to some equipment.

The city urges residents to wait before using parks until the city can address any downed trees, limbs, lights or other safety concerns.

Public safety and public works crews worked throughout the storm and into the evening July 8, with the main priority clearing roadways of trees and debris. Navasota Fire Department responded to downed trees and lines to ensure there were no live power lines that were a safety concern to the resident or property.

The city is continuing yard waste collection (trees and limbs) on their regular schedule. This week, crews will focus on the south side of Washington Ave. and next week crews will move to the north side of Washington Ave. When placing yard waste at the curb, residents are urged to adhere to the following guidelines. Piles should be 5–foot wide, 5–foot high and 10–foot long. View full guidelines at, https://www.navasotatx. gov/ departments/ solid_ waste_services/yard_waste. php.

The city said If crews see any yard debris or limbs blocking roadways throughout town, those will be removed as soon as possible. Residents can bring their brush collection to the Brush Facility, 9911 CR 415, this week from 8 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., and Saturday during the regular hours of 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Storm debris such as fencing, shingles, and construction debris can be dumped at Twin Oaks Landfill.

Navasota is coordinating with TxDOT to address street light issues on their roadways in the city. Navasota Police Department increased patrols of areas that were without power.

Property damage

Navasota residents who need assistance with understanding the process of making repairs can call the Development Services Department, 936– 825– 2961. They can ensure safety of residents by making sure contractors follow city guidelines for repairs.

Individuals with damages to their residence/ property are encouraged to complete the Texas Division of Emergency Management Individual State of Texas Assistance Tool, This tool enables individuals to report damages to emergency management and the State of Texas and may help residents in Texas receive federal recovery assistance.

Insurance tips from Texas Department of Insurance

If you experienced damage from Hurricane Beryl, contact your insurance company to start a claim. If you still have questions, the Texas Department of Insurance has specialists ready to help. Call the TDI Help Line, 800-252-3439.

“You need to get your claim started as soon as possible,” said Insurance Commissioner Cassie Brown. “We can help you if you run into an issue contacting your insurance company or just don’t understand what you’re hearing from them.”

Filing an insurance claim

• Contact your insurance company or agent as soon as possible.

• Keep a list of everyone you talk to. Be ready to describe the damage.

• Make a list of damaged property. Take pictures or video. Don’t throw away damaged items until you talk to your insurance company or adjuster.

• Try to protect your property from further damage. Cover broken windows and holes to keep out rain and prevent vandalism or theft.

• Ask about additional living expenses if you can’t live in your home due to the damage or power outages. Your insurance may pay some of those expenses.

• Save proof you paid the deductible on your claim. State law makes it illegal for contractors or roofers to offer to waive a deductible or to promise a rebate for the amount.

• In addition to filing your insurance claim, be sure to tell the Texas Division of Emergency Management about the damage. This will help Texas to receive as many recovery funds as possible. Report damage at iSTAT Damage Surveys.

Flood damage

• Most home and renters policies don’t cover flood damage. Check your policy or call your agent if you aren’t sure about your coverage.

• If you have flood insurance, call your agent or company as soon as possible. Federal flood policies require you to file a claim and document your losses within 60 days.

• Your personal auto policy may cover flood damage if you have comprehensive coverage. If your car was flooded or damaged, call your insurance company or agent as soon as possible.

Avoiding contractor scams

• Get written estimates on company letterhead with clear contact information.

• Get more than one bid to gauge which ones are too high or too good to be true.

• Check references and phone numbers. Beware of contractors who only have out-of-town references or solicit door-to-door.

• Don’t pay in full upfront and don’t make a final payment until the job is done.

• Be sure to read and understand any contracts before signing and don’t sign a contract with blanks to be filled in later.

For more information visit, https://www.tdi.texas. gov/index.html.

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