Update (4:11 p.m.)
In a Wednesday afternoon news conference, Potter County Judge Nancy Tanner said that the county has seen a lot of rain in the last few weeks. Because of this, the low-lying areas in Potter County are covered in water.
Tanner said that through the declaration and the accompanied order, the county aims to alleviate the loss families are going through.
Scott Brumley, the attorney for Potter County, said that the declaration activates the county’s emergency management plan, a document he calls “significant.”
“Basically, the upshot of it is that it allows the county to provide resources to help rescue people, first of all, and second, begin calculating losses that might have occurred because of the flooding and to get resources to work, trying to rehabilitate those properties and help people out in these situations,” Brumley said. “…This allows us to begin the work of pooling the resources and communicating, if necessary, with the city of Amarillo and some of our other governmental partners to help out where they can.”
Some roads in that portion of the county are currently lakes, Brumley said. Through this declaration, and the evacuation order, the county is attempting to get infrastructure “back on line” in case someone needs a way to get out there, including the potential need for ambulances and the fire departments.
Brumley stressed that the evacuation order for the Canadian River basin is for everyone in that area, not only some individuals.
“I know there are people out there who believe they have the survival skills to be out there in the middle of a significant flood,” Brumley said. “This is probably the most significant flooding we’ve had at least in 30 years out there. So this order says, it doesn’t matter what you think of your own abilities, you are not allowed to be out there. The risk to property, and more importantly the lives, is too great.”
POTTER COUNTY, Texas (KAMR/KCIT) — On Wednesday, Potter County Judge Nancy Tanner issued a “Declaration of Local State of Disaster” as well as an “Order Pursuant to Declaration of Local State of Disaster under Texas Disaster Act” for portions of the county that has recently experienced flooding, saying people are required to evacuate from the Canadian River basin located in the county that are being impacted by flooding.
According to the documents, filed in the county Wednesday afternoon, the declaration and the order are in relation to flooding that has occurred in the Valle De Oro area of the county, as well as areas of the Canadian River basin located in Potter County.
The declaration states that portions of the county, including the Valle De Oro community and its surrounding area “have suffered, and continue to suffer, widespread and severe damage, loss of property and the imminent threat of damage, injury and loss of life and property resulting from flooding.” The declaration is expected to continue for a period of not more than seven days from Wednesday unless continued or renewed by the Potter County Commissioners Court.
Tanner has determined that emergency measures need to be taken “to alleviate the suffering of people residing or located in the affected area, and to protect, recover and rehabilitate the affected area,” according to the declaration. Officials report that there has been “severe damage” to homes, along with public and private infrastructure, with a number of properties being unable to be reached by vehicle because of the flooding.
Under this declaration, Tanner also issued an order, stating that all people are required to evacuate from portions of the Canadian River basin located in Potter County that are impacted by flooding.
“…The evacuation ordered herein is MANDATORY,” the order reads, “and peace officers are authorized to use reasonable force to remove persons from the affected area… No person shall enter the Canadian River basis located within Potter County, Texas during the effective period of the Declaration of Local State of Disaster.”
Officials stress that this order does not apply to first responders who enforce the order or take part in rescue and recovery operations. The order also states that anyone who knowingly ignores the order and requires a rescue “may be civilly liable for the costs of the rescue effort.”
This is a developing story. MyHighPlains.com will update this article as new information becomes available.
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