Morning Tornado Briefing: Moving Toward Better

As Preston Hollow closes in on seven days since a series of tornados ravaged North Texas, spawning an F-3 tornado that snapped trees and power lines and destroyed homes and buildings from I-35 to east of U.S. 75, signs of repair are becoming more apparent.

It will still be months and even years before the area wholly recovers from the massive destruction, but being able to freely move about the area is a start.

City Update

The city’s Saturday evening update revealed that the Dallas police have moved a command post from Caruth Haven Lane to the northwest station on Harry Hines.

But perhaps more promising are the number of roads that continue to be open. While there are still about 47 traffic signals not working, and two flashing, Walnut Hill Road is now open entirely (but given that some intersections still have nonfunctioning traffic signals, it can be slow in parts), and the city has placed intersections like Hillcrest and Royal Lane and Walnut Hill at Shady Trail as priority for restoring power to those signals.

You will likely see more dump trucks and grappler trucks this morning to help with storm debris removal, Dallas Fire and Rescue said, and Sanitation Services expects more trailers to arrive to help haul off debris.

The Office of Emergency Management’s plans to create a Multi-Agency Resource Center (MARC) are progressing, with plans to convert the Red Cross assistance center at 9509 Midway Road (the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints) into that central location. The center opened Saturday, and will remain at least through Nov. 1.

At the MARC, affected residents will be able to access recovery services like insurance, legal aid, financial assistance, and more. The respite center at Bachman Rec Center closed Saturday evening.

For immediate needs, residents can contact the Red Cross at 1-800-RED CROSS.

The agency has also established an emergency financial assistance program for residents whose homes sustained major damage by the tornado. Qualified households can receive $450 for emergency needs, and heads of households can apply at the MARC, where caseworkers will be on hand from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. today through Monday, Oct. 28.

Oncor reported that every home and business that can safely receive power now has electricity. There are some customers, however, who cannot have their power reconnected until a certified electrician makes repairs to their homes or businesses. Customers impacted by the tornado who are still having power restoration issues are encouraged to call the company’s tornado hotline at 1-800-666-8154.

Officials Tour Businesses Affected by Tornado, FEMA to Arrive This Week

Congresswoman Eddie Bernice Johnson, Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins, as well as other city and county officials toured businesses damaged by the tornado Friday.

Jenkins said that FEMA will be on hand Monday in Richardson and Tuesday in Dallas to tour the same areas, in the hopes that some small business owners will be able to get FEMA loans, and that other assistance will be available as well.

Preston Hollow Churches Provide Care and Feeding

St. Luke’s Episcopal Church, who was behind city barricades due to its location on Royal Lane next to the Preston Royal Shopping Center until very recently, is not only celebrating that Preston is open with its 11 a.m. worship service today, but it’s also hosting a community barbecue at 12:30 p.m.

“We may have lost our home, our business, or our power in the tornado, but we didn’t lose our resolve and our faith,” organizers said. “Join us Sunday at our Community Lunch and Worship as we thank God for protecting the lives of our neighbors and for strengthening our community as we repair and recover.”

The church says all are welcome as they serve Bill Dickey’s famous barbecue lunch.

Preston Hollow Presbyterian, who began deploying golf carts to deliver supplies and meals to families in their neighborhood Monday morning, says that they have made and delivered more than 5,000 meals with the help of more than 100 volunteers.

“Using 11 golf carts, we took over 110 trips into affected neighborhoods to deliver supplies to those in need,” the church said. “We have received hundreds of sandwich donations from local nursing homes and retirement communities, our youth spent hours organizing school supplies, and on Friday we served a few hundred through Mi Cocina. It was a busy week, but it was a Holy Week.”

Bethany Erickson

Bethany Erickson, deputy editor at People Newspapers, cut her teeth on community journalism, starting in Arkansas. Recently, she's taken home a few awards for her writing, including a Gold award for Best Series at the 2018 National Association of Real Estate Editors journalism awards, a 2018 Hugh Aynesworth Award for Editorial Opinion from the Dallas Press Club, and a 2019 award from NAREE for a piece linking Medicaid expansion with housing insecurity. She doesn't like lima beans, black licorice or the word synergy. You can reach her at bethany.erickson@peoplenewspapers.com.

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