AMARILLO, Texas (KAMR/KCIT) — The City of Amarillo provided a storm update Monday at the Office of Emergency Management (OEM) at the Simms Municipal Building. Various city officials were on to discuss the storm response and the latest information.

At Monday’s storm update press conference, Mayor Cole Stanley said the disaster declaration issued last Thursday gives the city the opportunity to work hand and hand with their local partners and some of the partners from across the state.

“This is letting people know we have a really serious problem going on here in the panhandle, we need help and assistance from the Texas Division of Emergency Management, from the state, possibly from FEMA, it’s really more of a tool to allow us to leverage those resources going forward,” said Amarillo City Manager Jared Miller.

Stanley said they have a meeting scheduled for Thursday to extend that disaster declaration.

“We have a meeting scheduled this Thursday at 12:30, we will be extending that in order to adequately survey the damage, look at each individual resident and business owner that’s been affected, and make sure we are utilizing all the resources that we have in our availability,” said Stanley.

Miller said that disaster declaration will possibly help the city be reimbursed for mitigating and managing a disaster as its ongoing.

“Probably won’t help us with things like picking up trash from playa lakes and things like that, but definitely can help us with any cost of sandbagging and any other activities that we have to do manage the event,” said Miller.

Mike Gittinger, the meteorologist in charge at the National Weather Service in Amarillo said parts of the city of Amarillo have seen measurements as high as 13 or a little over 13 inches of rain in a 30-day period. He said this is not dissimilar to what the city saw in 2015, where he said parts of the city saw actually more rainfall in parts than we are seeing now.

“We had similar results where playa lakes were full, creeks and rivers and that type of thing. So some of the areas have certainly received some appreciatable amounts of rainfall that are getting up to the higher end of what we will see in a 30-day period,” said Gittinger.

Stanley said this storm allows the city to elevate where the city stands during severe weather.

“This gives us a good opportunity to see what we look like in a preparedness situation. Some things that are evident like sandbags and what we are doing on those, and stockpiling some of those prior to our next wet season. The other thing that is evident, are things that are decades old, that we’ve always flooded in these areas, we’ve always had these issues and so what that will do is constituent our entire public being able to say this is a priority for our entire public and we see this as a good expense of tax dollars and those are the fees that are associated with our drainage and utility. So going forward, it needs to be evaluated in what we can do better in what we currently have and then also being able to look at what do we not have that we could be paying for as a community,” said Stanley.

The Director of the Amarillo Area Office of Emergency Management Max Dunlap said they have requested assistance with sandbagging from the Texas Division of Emergency Management.

“We have requested assistance with sandbagging, we have made this request for the city of Canyon as well and it is open to Randall County and whoever truly needs this resource. This resource is the Army Corps of Engineers, they are bringing a sandbagging machine along with a team to fill these sandbags and they will start to be distributed tomorrow morning. That distribution point will be the north parking lot just north of 3rd, north of the Civic Center. We will open that tomorrow. Those sandbags will be there and we will continue to bring them as much as we need as long as we need as long as that resource is here,” said Dunlap.

According to the City of Amarillo, those sandbags will be available to the public starting at 7 A.M. on June 6th at the Amarillo Civic Center north parking lot. and the sandbags are free of charge and residents are allowed 25 sandbags per vehicle.

The City of Canyon will have a pickup location for those sandbags at the Canyon Area Library.

Dunlap said currently that no public shelter has been open, but for individuals who need help, OEM is referring them to the American Red Cross. But he said if reports come in that something larger needs to open, they will work with the American Red Cross to open up a shelter.

Dunlap asked people to continue to fill out damage assessments as they are imperative to those who had damaged or sustained damage to their homes. Those damage assessments can be found at

He added the city and counties have to meet a specific threshold that allows for the possibility for more state help to come here and help. For Potter County, that threshold is $526,000 and for Randall County, that threshold is $625,000.

“I highly suggest any citizens, counties, cities, anything like that, if you have sustained damage. Please fill these forms out, this does help out the cities and the counties meet those to possibly get more help from the state,” said Dunlap.

Amarillo Police Chief Martin Birkenfeld said they are considering this as a public safety emergency and said this is not something to be toyed with or treated as a site seeing expedition.

“We understand that the businesses and homes that are affected by this are under extreme distress and they are vulnerable, so as the police department is considered, we are going to pay extra attention to these areas, so we are not going to tolerate trespassing or sightseeing on property you don’t belong on,” said Chief Birkenfeld.

Chief Birkenfeld and the Amarillo Police Department are also demanding that drivers not drive around barricades.

“The barricades are there for a reason. There are not enough barricades to identify every hazard, so if there is a barricade in front of a street, that means that street is likely underwater, there could be potholes, there could be fences, there could be any number of hazards beyond there,” said Chief Birkenfeld.

Chief Birkenfeld added it is against the law to disregard a traffic control device, which could include a barricade, flag man, or police officer.

For the latest Amarillo news and regional updates, check with and tune in to KAMR Local 4 News at 5:00, 6:00, and 10:00 p.m. and Fox 14 News at 9:00 p.m. CST.