Waiting for receding waters

By: Emi FitzGerald Email
By: Emi FitzGerald Email

MARSHALL CO., Okla. -- The wettest summer in some record books, caused thousands of dollars in damage all over the area. Some are still waiting for federal flood assistance. While Grayson and Cooke counties have received federal disaster declarations, other counties in our area are still waiting for funds.

Oklahoma governor Brad Henry has asked for 16 more counties to receive federal disaster funds, including Bryan County. Marshall County still isn't on the list, but officials there say they're getting closer.

Empty cabins and quiet roads set the scene at Catfish Bay marina, an unusual sight for this time of year. The ghost-town feel is becoming more common these days at marinas around Lake Texoma.

"Memorial day was a rain out here, it just was rained out,” said Jeff Hudson, executive director for the Marshall County Chamber of Commerce. “Then the 4th came around and we got flooded to the point that the lake got closed. So virtually this is probably, if not the worst, summer we've ever had."
Marinas have lost millions of dollars in revenue this summer, Hudson said. Most places to stay along the northern shores are flooded, and boat-ramps are closed. This after Texoma lodge closed its doors in January to make way for new facilities.

Since the revenue loss has been so drastic, Hudson fears some marinas are unable to pay for repairs, as they wait until federal assistance arrives.

State lawmakers say one reason Marshall County hasn't received a disaster declaration is that most of the areas are still underwater. They have to wait for the lake to recede before assessing the damage.

"We know it's going to be there when the water recedes, we just haven't had an opportunity to assess it as of yet. And as the waters recede, more and more of the assessments will happen. And that information will get to the state emergency management office, to the governor who will then make the request to the President," said Oklahoma state senator Jay Paul Gumm, (D) Durant.

FEMA officials are scheduled to do a preliminary damage assessment in Marshall County on Friday, as county officials hope for assistance.

On the other side of the Red River, a FEMA official met with Fannin county leaders Monday morning. Commissioners have two weeks to submit a report of county roads needing repairs. Private companies can apply for small business loans which includes damaged farmland.

If you would like to report flood damage, log onto FEMA’s website:

www.fema.gov


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