Oct. 20 tornado could cost Richardson $4.4 million, staff reports

richardson oct. 20 tornado damage
The Oct. 20 tornado affected 949 structures in Richardson. (Liesbeth Powers/Community Impact Newspaper)

The Oct. 20 tornado affected 949 structures in Richardson. (Liesbeth Powers/Community Impact Newspaper)

The financial impact of the Oct. 20 tornado in Richardson is becoming more clear nearly two months after the storm.

The city is estimating an incurred recovery cost of $3.3 million, according to a Dec. 16 presentation to City Council by Deputy City Manager Don Magner. This includes expenses related to debris removal, staff overtime costs, sheltering of residents, damage to city property and more.

The tornado that struck Richardson was one of 10 that occurred in North Texas that night, according to a report by the National Weather Service in Fort Worth. Its path from Dallas to Richardson stretched nearly 16 miles. In the nine minutes during which the tornado passed through Richardson, 949 structures were affected, and thousands were left without power, according to information from the city.

An evaluation of claims by the city’s insurance provider is underway, Magner said. Staff is also awaiting a decision by the Federal Emergency Management Agency on whether the city will receive partial or full reimbursement for damage caused by the storm.

To prepare for the worst-case scenario of no financial assistance, staff is cushioning the $3.3 million damage estimate with $736,300 in contingency funds.


The $1.5 million spent on debris removal made up the bulk of the city’s recovery costs, Magner said. Third-party debris haulers and the city’s Brush and Bulky Items Collections, or BABIC, staff removed 700 loads, or 43,500 cubic yards, of vegetative debris as well as 239 loads, or 16,000 cubic yards, of construction debris.

Debris removal by the city’s third-party contractor has been suspended; however, Magner said residents can still schedule pickup appointments through the city’s BABIC department. Solid waste crews are also available to help if needed, he said.

The city will continue to offer complimentary delivery and haul-away service of debris bins to tornado victims, Magner said. But residents with insurance coverage should first try to access those benefits through their insurance provider, he said.

Damage to infrastructure and facilities was the city’s second largest tornado-related cost, at about $1.1 million, according to Magner. Walls and screening walls took a significant hit, particularly near the intersection of Audelia and Buckingham roads, Magner said.

The city is holding off on repairs until it hears back from its insurance provider and FEMA, Magner said. Staff has also worked with area homeowners associations to ensure they are also postponing repairs, he said.

“The goal is to maximize reimbursement and minimize construction costs of rebuilding these walls,” he said.

A decision on reimbursement is not expected until mid-February at the earliest, Magner said.

The city is also continuing its express permitting services and fee waivers for tornado victims, Magner said. Since the tornado hit, Magner estimates the city has issued three times as many permits as it normally would this time of year.

Nearly 300 permits have been issued for tornado-related demolitions, additions and remodels, but the majority were for roofing repairs, Magner said. This part of the recovery effort could continue for another 18-24 months, he said.

Staff will receive another update on budget implications and recovery efforts after the start of the new year. Decisions on reimbursements should also help to finalize the city’s fiscal year 2018-19 operating budget, Magner said.
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By Olivia Lueckemeyer

Olivia Lueckemeyer graduated in 2013 from Loyola University New Orleans with a degree in journalism. She joined Community Impact Newspaper in October 2016 as reporter for the Southwest Austin edition before her promotion to editor in March 2017. In July 2018 she returned home to the Dallas area and became editor of the Richardson edition.


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