Pauls Valley, OK, Pauls Valley Democrat

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June 13, 2014

Cleanup making strides

emann@pvdemocrat.com — Much has been accomplished since severe thunderstorms left a path of destruction in Pauls Valley Saturday night. One thing is clear; the cleanup won’t be over for some time.

Emergency Management Director Don Wageman is seeing through his assessment that the damage could have been much worse.

“It’s going to be a time consuming operation; it’s not going to be done overnight,” said City Manager James Frizell.

“We’re trying to get all the limbs picked up and help where we can.”

The hardest hit areas were neighborhoods in Tanglewood, Wildwood and Crown Point. Strong winds uprooted trees and broke limbs off causing major damage to houses and fences. The winds and hail caused damage to the houses themselves.

The Santa Fe Depot Museum, the Arts and Cultural Center and other downtown businesses sustained damage to windows.

“There’s damage in town, but the most concentrated damage was over there (in housing additions),” said Frizell. “Our job has been made a little easier with the assistance of county commissioner crews.”

“Our observation is 75 percent of homes in those additions were damaged by the high winds.”

Even with all the damage, Wageman does not expect there to be a declaration for assistance.

This was localized to a small town and not a larger community like when Moore was hit by a tornado last year.

Wageman pointed out how the cities impacted in a disaster would get the aid instead of residents. A lot of the home damage will mostly be a matter dealt through insurance companies.

The council did not apply for aid at the council meeting Tuesday, though they did discuss what each had seen.

“This is an isolated incident in our community,” said Wageman. “I don’t see it happening. It has to happen to a lot of people in a wide area. Our basic services are operational.”

Frizell expects the cost to be significant. That being the case, the city should be able to absorb it without causing too much strain on next year’s budget.

Frizell noted that this is not the worst storm damage he has ever seen. That distinction goes to the 2000 ice storm that had a much wider spread of destruction and not as concentrated.

He even mentioned a similar thunderstorm incident back in 2003, which had a similar impact.

“These happen and of course we have a lot of trees in town. We’re fortunate there’s no report of injuries or loss of life.” said Frizell.

“We’re not without any resources; we do have the resources to take care of what we need taken care of.”

Wageman said there was nothing on any form of technology indicating a tornado.

He said one could make assumptions afterward because of some of the ingredients. He said they would not have had time to sound the siren. It developed and fell apart before something else could form.

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