(Editor’s Note: The above clip is a view of top headlines from the morning of June 9, 2023.)
AMARILLO, Texas (KAMR/KCIT) — Officials with the city of Amarillo, along with other first responders and officials from the Amarillo Area of Emergency Management, participated in a news conference surrounding the recent flooding in Potter and Randall counties Friday afternoon.
Amarillo residents, along with residents of Potter and Randall counties, have been impacted by the recent flooding in storms over the last two weeks. According to previous reports by MyHighPlains.com, more than 300 individuals have been rescued from the South Georgia area as of Friday, with more than 1,000 people being impacted by power outages in that area in the morning hours.
As was reported by MyHighPlains.com, officials with Xcel Energy announced that power was shut down in the neighborhood around Western and Georgia St. on Thursday following area evacuation efforts.
As of 4:46 p.m. on Friday, Xcel Energy’s outage map showed that around 850 customers are being impacted by outages. Wes Reeves, an official with Xcel Energy, said during the news conference that Xcel was asked to de-energize three of its circuits out of the Lawrence Park Substation for safety.
During the conference, Reeves said crews are working to restore power to affected residents, stating that as water is pumped out and recedes, crews can begin those efforts.
Reeves said about 222 of Xcel’s customers north of Mockingbird Lane have had power restored so far, though about 847 customers are still without power.
“This is an unusual situation for us in that this isn’t a tornado or something like that damaged our system. Our system is operable. But we have been asked or asked yesterday to de-energize three circuits coming out of our Lawrence Park substation, and that’s for safety purposes,” said Reeves.
Reeves said Xcel has brought in help from other areas to effort increments in restoring power to customers.
“So again, we’re protecting public safety, the safety of our employees. And that is why there are still customers in that area without power but we are working very closely with folks in that area,” Reeves continued saying.
As the flooding situation continues, the Amarillo Police Department, as well as the Amarillo Fire Department, continue to coordinate operations to help respond to evacuations.
Amarillo Police Department Chief Martin Birkenfeld said that officers continue to support security at the city’s shelter and continue to have officers inside and outside the areas impacted by flooding.
Birkenfeld said that officers are doing patrols inside the impacted area as well as outside the barricades, making sure that individuals are not trespassing. Birkenfeld stressed that it looks like people are cooperating.
“It’s very important to these business owners and these homeowners that their places are secure,” Birkenfeld said. “They’re vulnerable (right now and we want to make sure) that they aren’t affected by people coming in to either sightsee or potentially trespass for other reasons.”
Amarillo Fire Chief Jason Mays said that evacuees continue to be shuttled to various locations throughout the city, including the multi-agency resource center at the Randall County Fire Station, the shelter at the Amarillo Civic Center Complex, and the emergency retrieval station at Home Depot.
As of 2:30 p.m., Mays reported that 326 individuals and 79 pets have been evacuated, a number which “dropped off tremendously” on Friday.
Mays said that first responders have accompanied individuals to retrieve “vital necessities” within homes and businesses impacted by the flooding. As of Friday, Mays said 21 people have asked to retrieve these necessities, including medicines, car keys, wallets, and pets. Mays expects those efforts to resume at 8 a.m. Saturday.
During Friday’s conference, officials spoke about the status of the pumps throughout the city of Amarillo, both the temporary pumps and the permanent pumps located at the Playa Lakes. Officials also spoke about the status of Amarillo’s Animal Management and Welfare Department and the impact the recent flooding and evacuations have had on that department.
Max Dunlap, the director of the Amarillo Area Office of Emergency Management, said that any clothing and household goods donations can be given to the Downtown Women’s Center. Any monetary donations are asked to be sent to the Amarillo Area Foundation’s Panhandle Disaster Relief Fund.
Officials said that the multi-agency resource center, located at the Randall County Fire Station No. One in south Amarillo will be closed after 7 p.m. Friday on June 9. They encouraged individuals, if they need help during the weekend, to call the hotline at 806-378-6591 or call 211, the United Way of Amarillo, and Canyon’s helpline.
Dunlap also encouraged individuals to fill out the Individual State of Texas Assessment Tool regarding property damage. Dunlap also said businesses can email firstname.lastname@example.org to use the Damage Assessment Tool. According to previous reports, the surveys help state and local emergency management offices in identifying and understanding damages that have occurred.