Montgomery County commissioners extended the May 3 local disaster declaration for 30 days during the May 7 Commissioners Court meeting as well as approved debris removal contracts and shared updates regarding the Lake Conroe Dam water releases.

What happened?

Following an extension of the state disaster declaration by Gov. Greg Abbott, commissioners voted to extend the local disaster declaration to allow the Montgomery County Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Management to stay active for debris cleanup and damage assessments.

“If [the county] receive[s] damage to public property roadways or structural equipment, you have to fill out the ... damage assessment surveys the [Texas Division of Emergency Management] puts out [to] let the state move the damages you have to public property,” MCOHSEM Executive Director Jason Millsaps said. “Those are imperative for us to prove up our claim for public assistance from [the Federal Emergency Management Agency].”

Commissioners approved $3 million to contract with CrowderGulf for debris removal, and Millsaps said once the dates are approved to begin the debris pickup process it will be communicated to commissioners and the public.

Also of note

Millsaps commended the San Jacinto River Authority regarding the level of communication between the SJRA and the MCOHSEM throughout the recent storms.

“While they're not a flood control dam, they were acting as a flood control dam by withholding water and allowing the lake to rise, and managing that for the integrity of the dam as [the water] goes through,” Millsaps said.

During the height of the storms, the water being released from the dam totaled 1.95 billion gallons an hour while the amount of water flowing into Lake Conroe stood at 4 billion gallons an hour.

Stay tuned

Debris pickup is expected to begin within the next few weeks as the TDEM and FEMA continue damage assessments.

Millsaps said the county appears to have a large number of uninsured losses based on flood insurance claims, meaning the county will likely qualify for a federal disaster declaration and FEMA assistance.

Residents are encouraged to fill out the damage assessment forms on the TDEM’s website and call the Montgomery County Disaster Recovery hotline at 936-522-2349 for additional assistance.