Montgomery County commissioners on Feb. 6 extended a disaster declaration for an additional 30 days following late January storms while damage surveys are being finalized for areas such as River Plantation.

What you need to know

Originally issued Jan. 24 by Montgomery County Judge Mark Keough, the disaster declaration allows the county to use certain resources and direct funding toward emergency management in the event of a disaster. The extension also allows damage surveys to be completed to assess the need for additional federal or state aid.

Jason Millsaps, executive director of the Montgomery County Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Management, said during the meeting that canvassing of flood damaged homes was nearly complete. According to the surveys, the community of River Plantation in Conroe sustained the highest amount of damage due to the storms.

The data

Damage reports were collected from the American Red Cross canvassing effort and the self-reporting Individual State of Texas Assessment Tool, or iSTAT. The Red Cross reported 666 total assessments were conducted, with an additional 42 self-assessments turned in for state verification and review.

Millsaps said the county currently does not have enough reported damage to qualify for additional disaster assistance.

Some of the homes damaged in the storms are also on the list of voluntary buyout options for the county from previous hurricanes and flooding events. However, Millsaps said the voluntary buyout process is not often utilized until after a flooding event, which causes some stress on the system.

Quote of note

“Unfortunately when we have a flood event, those that are presented with a buyout option tend to get very motivated when they take on more water, and that complicates matters. It complicates the process,” Millsaps said.

What’s next?

Residents who sustained damage from the storms Jan. 24-26 are still encouraged to fill out the iSTAT self-report damage tool. Officials said no additional financial assistance is available at this time; however, that could change depending on total disaster surveys once the reporting period closes.