WICHITA FALLS (KFDX/KJTL) — The City of Wichita Falls has provided an update on the storm damage and how officials are responding.
Public Information Officer Chris Horgen led the briefing alongside Wichita Falls Police Sgt. Charlie Eipper and Wichita County Judge Jim Johnson.
The high for Friday, August 11, is expected to get up to 110°, and many residents are still without power.
Horgen said there are two cooling stations currently open to the public: the Red Cross on 5th Street and Evangel Temple on Barnett Road.
Both the Red Cross location and Evangel Temple will be open until 8 p.m. Friday, and both are pet-friendly.
At this time, no overnight shelters for those who experienced storm damage have been opened.
Horgen announced that City utilities are all continuing to work throughout the day. He said trash pickup may be a bit delayed due to road conditions, but trash is still running.
Buses are running, but they also might be delayed due to debris in the road and taking different routes to avoid damage.
Several traffic lights across town are currently not functioning because of power interruptions.
The City has set up stop signs at many of those locations, but Horgen asked drivers to pay attention to others on the road.
DEBRIS AND DAMAGE
A dump spot has been opened at Lucy Park for tree limb debris. The spot will be open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. every day through next Friday. No other debris should be dumped there.
If you have other debris, the Wichita Falls Transfer Station is open.
The City of Wichita Falls is currently waiving the fees for building permits in order to get emergency repairs done. Building permits will still be required, though.
To file for a building permit, call (940) 761-7459.
If any citizens come across downed power lines, Horgen cautions them to stay away from the area.
Horgen also asked residents to avoid areas with the most damage and not go just to look.
Sgt. Eipper said the Wichita Falls Police Department will be operating normally, although with some systems down.
Additional officers were on duty overnight to monitor some of the areas that were damaged or had power outages.
Sgt. Eipper emphasized that the phones for the police station and dispatch are still working, so emergency calls or calls to the police department will not be interrupted.
At this time, the police department and the City have not heard of any reported injuries caused by the storm or damage from it.
WICHITA COUNTY RESPONSE
Wichita County Judge Jim Johnson also spoke and said the Wichita County Courthouse and Courthouse Annex are both closed until further notice.
Johnson said all courts have been canceled for the day, as well.
Judge Johnson said that the County Emergency Management team is sending photos and assessments of the damage to the National Weather Service who will definitively determine what caused the damage.
The current understanding is that the damage was caused by a series of downbursts, which can cause damage similar to that of a tornado.
Horgen addressed concerns of residents on the lack of a warning before the severe weather event and said that downbursts can happen in seconds, and there often is very little to no warning ahead of time.