LUBBOCK, TX (KCBD) – It's been a little more than two weeks since Hurricane Alex dumped record rainfall across the South Plains and FEMA teams are in Lubbock for the first time checking out the damage caused by all that rain.
The Starbucks at 82th and Quaker may be some of the most visible damage caused by Alex. The heavy rains collapsed the roof minutes before closing time. FEMA officials are in town to verify damage county wide to places like Starbucks, but also to homes and public infrastructure.
"These are preliminary damage assessments and this is a team effort," said FEMA spokesperson Brad Craine who is in town from Fort Worth.
FEMA partnered with local emergency management teams and the Small Business Administration to canvass Lubbock County for flood damage. "There is a threshold in Lubbock County and it is around $600,000 of damage that has to be found and that's why we are here to find that out," added Craine who rode around the county Tuesday afternoon.
FEMA deploys two types of assessment teams. One is for individual assistance and the other is for public assistance. Public Assistance teams focus on damage to public infrastructure including bridges and roads and anything else that a city or community may have. The team KCBD NewsChannel 11 caught up with Tuesday focused on individual homes and structures. They spent the afternoon at Buffalo Springs Lake.
"Most people do not have flood insurance and those are the ones we are going to see how much water is in their house," said Craine, but added that a lot of people do have flood insurance, and those people would not need federal assistance.
Craine said his team has seen quite a bit of damage where water did make it into a home. He estimates 300 structures in Lubbock County received some type of water damage. The disaster agency will visit nine West Texas counties and even more in the valley where heavy flooding was reported.
FEMA will turn numbers in to Governor Rick Perry, who then must request a disaster declaration from President Obama. If Lubbock County qualifies for assistance through FEMA the federal agency will pick up 75 percent of the costs.
"It could be a matter of days or could be longer to find that out if we get a presidential declaration," added Craine. The presidential declaration is required before federal dollars can be distributed.
The assessment teams will continue to look at damage reports across the city of Lubbock Wednesday.
More information on disaster assistance, (click here).
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