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Judge signs disaster declaration
Large, destructive hail and 30-mile-per-hour winds from two different supercells that moved across South Texas last week left Frio County residents cleaning up the debris and making repairs to their homes, vehicles and property.
The fast-moving severe storms affected residents in Frio County by dropping softball-sized hail on Wednesday, March 1. The monster thunderstorm moved into the area around 10:30 p.m.
The storm’s aftermath left many residents in the Hilltop area in Dilley with broken windows, shattered windshields and hail damage to their vehicles. Some residents reported hail so large it penetrated their roofs; others are reporting damage so severe their recreational vehicles are being declared total losses by insurance companies.
Frio County Judge Rochelle Camacho issued a declaration of disaster Wednesday morning after her assessment of the damage in Dilley, although representatives of the Texas Division of Emergency Management (TDEM) assessed the aftermath and concluded there was not sufficient damage to carry out the declaration.
“TDEM did not see enough damage to issue a state of disaster declaration,” the judge said in an interview Monday afternoon. “I issued the county declaration after seeing all the damages to the homes.”
A second system swept through the region around 3 a.m. Friday morning in Pearsall with strong winds ravaging parts of the community. The damaging winds uprooted trees, broke awnings, carried trashcans across streets and downed power lines.
Pearsall ISD reported that internet and phone services were inoperable Friday morning due to a downed power line.
A couple on the east side of town reported that the high winds caused a tree to be uprooted and fall on their house, puncturing the roof and breaking a window.
The twin storms are comparable to those that swept South Texas in May 2014, when the county was battered by two violent thunderstorms just a week apart that produced large hail and damaging winds.
Frio County Chief Deputy Peter Salinas is warning residents to be cautious when finding contracting companies to make repairs.
“Never pay upfront for contractor services,” the chief deputy said. “Legitimate contractors will be able to work with your insurance company for payment.”