Massive storm proving costly

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The recent wintry storm has come and gone, but Texas residents and officials are still feeling the pinch.

Across Denton County and the state, the blast of cold weather caused headaches, hazards and increased the costs of manpower and equipment as five days of ice-closed roads, government offices, businesses and schools.

Early estimates of the ice storm fallout have reached at least $30 million in residential insured losses across the state, according to an industry group.

Officials with the Insurance Council of Texas said the losses include homes damaged by downed trees, broken pipes and other residential damage in the greater Dallas-Forth Worth area. The preliminary estimate released Thursday does not include damage to vehicles, roads or government property.

The storm also took its toll on local government. The city of Denton utilities and public safety crews worked round-the-clock during the storm.

“Although city offices and facilities were closed on Friday and delayed opening on Monday, essential personnel continued to work throughout the severe weather conditions to provide critical services to our community,” said City Manager George Campbell in a news release.

Street crews worked more than 1,900 man-hours to spread 624 tons of sand on streets, bridges and overpasses. The city also provided mutual aid to the Texas Department of Transportation through sanding operations on Interstate 35 near Sanger from the evening of Dec. 6 to the morning of Dec. 7.

Denton police responded to 77 minor accidents, 13 major accidents and 172 traffic hazards and assisted 390 motorists from when the storm began the afternoon of Dec. 5 until Monday evening, city officials said.

Denton Municipal Electric reported that service was disrupted for 160 customers during the event, which is less than half a percent of DME customers. The average outage lasted one hour and the longest outage was less than five hours.

The Denton Fire Department provided welfare checks to motorists stopped in traffic on I-35W and I-35E through Denton and along I-35 up to Sanger. Firefighters also operated two brush trucks with two-person crews to move stuck vehicles, and provided blankets and water to stranded motorists.

City and county officials are still assessing damage from the storm.

This article contains material from The Associated Press.

BJ LEWIS can be reached at 940-566-6875 and via Twitter at @BjlewisDRC.


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