Update on City of Bryan tornado damage from the Press Conference at 4 PM.
The City of Bryan has worked with the Red Cross to assess the damage of the tornado that struck the Wheeler Ridge, Tiffany Park, and Miramont neighborhoods.
A press conference was held at the Community Emergency Operations Center at 4 p.m. Friday, May 27, 2016.
These three communities sustained significant damage from the May 26 tornado. Here is a breakdown of the damage numbers:
— 138 homes damaged
— 4 “destroyed” — (1 in Miramont, 3 in Wheeler Ridge)
— 44 sustained “major damage” — (meaning large portion of roof structure missing or damaged, or walls damaged significant, etc.)
— 66 minor damage
— 24 affected (meaning that damage is more cosmetic than anything)
These numbers are expected to rise and these reports are for single-family residential homes only. They do not include flooded properties, vehicles, fences, trees, infrastructure, etc. They also do not include commercial or infrastructure costs.
The designations used are standard Red Cross designations for disaster scenes.
BTU: Restoring service in Wheeler Ridge
BTU mobilized all of their crews and some contract crews yesterday, and crews have been working around the clock to repair damaged BTU infrastructure.
A feeder line that serves Wheeler Ridge, Tiffany Park, and some other buildings on the east side of Bryan, was damaged. Houses in the affected areas must be assessed house-by-house to make sure that there is a safe situation when BTU crews re-energize the feeder line.
BTU crews must ensure that every “service” line to individual homes is safe for them to re-energize the feeder line. There has been a lot of damage for the service lines, and many houses are too damaged to have service restored.
Crews are continuing to work to restore service.
The Bryan Police Department has had a presence in the affected areas, and will have a presence in these areas until it is deemed appropriate to withdraw. There have been no law-enforcement issues in the affected areas and the Police Department asks for patience from citizens as they continue to control access to certain areas.
The Police Department would also like to thank its members and members of the College Station Police Department for their work and help during this event.
Moments after the Wheeler Ridge disaster, fire crews were on the ground. Members of the Bryan Fire Department immediately started searching more than 50 houses, looking for people with injuries.
By 8 p.m. Thursday night, more than 80 calls for emergency services had been received and 30 were water rescues.
Other communities, including Navasota, Washington County, and College Station were called in to help. At 4 p.m. Thursday, the Bryan Fire Department requested boat crews from Texas Task Force One. Crews from Austin, Fort Worth, San Antonio, and Kileen responded.
Crews from Austin will be in the area overnight and extra units are being staffed.
Thanks to all of our neighbors who helped.
Residents who wish to help those affected by the severe weather can donate money to the United Way of the Brazos Valley. http://uwbv.org/bvstorms, or text the word “bvstorms” to 91999.
The United Way will be working with the Office of Emergency Management and Volunteer Organizations Active in Disaster to assess the best way to distribute funds in the next few weeks. The United Way of the Brazos Valley has no need for non-monetary donations at this time.
Residents can also use the “2-1-1” service for information on donations.
Bryan Mayor Jason Bienski:
Bryan Mayor Jason Bienski spoke at the press conference and thanked all of the City staff members who are working to help in this disaster situation, specifically the Bryan Police Department, Fire Department, and BTU.
He also thanked the business community and residents of Bryan who have come together and donated their time and resources to help their fellow residents who experienced damage from the severe weather.
The local disaster declaration is the first step to obtaining a State declaration. Without a local disaster declaration, the City is almost guaranteed not to receive funding assistance or to be declared a State disaster area; there is a small possibility the State might declare a major disaster without a local declaration.
If property is not insured, the local declaration increases the possibility of State of federal funding assistance for public and private property.
For Brazos County, the disaster threshold dollar amount to be considered a State (or federal) disaster is $693,670 uninsured damage County-wide. A single storm can be combined across boundaries to reach required funding threshold requirements. For example, for yesterday’s storm, the City of Bryan can be combined with other surrounding areas such as the County, and other cities and counties to reach other funding thresholds.
Declaring a “local state of disaster” opens up the possibility of outside assistance to help our citizens.
Rep John Raney
Rep. John Raney (R-Tex.) also spoke at the press conference and echoed the Mayor’s comments on the residents of Bryan and its first responders. He said he had been in contact with the Governor’s office and that he would be working to secure disaster aid from the state.