The Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service Disaster Assessment and Recovery, DAR, Unit recently deployed a team to conduct agricultural damage assessments in three northeast Texas counties in response to tornadoes and severe weather.
DAR officers conducted assessments in Red River, Morris and Lamar counties in response to a request for assistance from the State of Texas, STAR.
Governor Greg Abbott has requested federal assistance after the North Texas storms and tornadoes on November 4. Total property losses for homes and businesses are estimated at more than $11 million.
“Our DAR agents play a critical role in serving Texas residents in times of need, and the North Texas storms have caused extensive damage and loss to homeowners, agricultural producers and associated businesses,” Monty said. Dozier, Ph.D., DAR unit. director, Bryan-College Station.
The DAR team supports statewide emergency response efforts as part of The Texas A&M University System Keeping Texas Prepared Initiative. DAR works in coordination with the Texas Division of Emergency Management and other Texas A&M University System groups, including Texas A&M Engineering extension service and Texas A&M Forest Service. In addition, they provide support to national response organizations such as the Federal Emergency Management AgencyFEMA.
DAR delivers the details
A request from Red River County was received Nov. 9 for assistance in conducting full damage investigations of the tornadoes and severe weather that occurred Nov. 4. Five DAR officers were deployed to conduct the assessment, led by Bryan Davis, DAR Team Leader, Séguin.
“Upon receiving the request, we deployed the next day,” Davis said. “From there, we met with the Red River County Emergency Manager. Their needs were to get a full estimate of the fence that was destroyed throughout Red River County. We worked from maps and county roads. No private property was seized.
Davis said two teams of two-member strike team officers have been assembled with one team assigned to the north and the other to the south.
“We were working along the main path of the storm,” Davis said. “We then worked until we met in the middle.”
The teams used both visual assessments and drone technology. The AgriLife Extension GIS Team Texas Community Watershed Partners The Houston office helped delineate the tornado’s path in each county to expedite the inspection process. Calculated loss estimates were entered into the AgStat data system by landowners, which is part of the iSTAT damage survey portal used by the Texas Division of Emergency Management.
A second STAR request was received from Morris County for DAR assessments of damage to fences, livestock and equipment on November 10. Another STAR request was received from Lamar County for DAR assistance with the fence damage estimates.
Final damage estimates, measured from exterior county road fences, were:
- Red River County, 16.18 miles of fences destroyed.
- Morris County, 2 km of fences, five agricultural structures.
- Lamar County, 3.5 miles from fences.
DAR team members completed assessments in Red River and Morris counties on November 11. Assessments in Lamar County were completed Nov. 12 and officers were discharged.
“Whenever there’s a need from citizens or the public, we don’t want to disrupt the recovery process,” Davis said. “Every disaster starts locally and ends locally. We are aware and respectful of the needs of Texans and want to serve as efficiently and effectively as possible.
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Photo: Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service’s Disaster Assessment and Recovery Unit, DAR, recently deployed a team to conduct agricultural damage assessments in three northeast Texas counties, including the county of Red River, in response to tornadoes and inclement weather. (Photo Texas A&M AgriLife)