Monday afternoon Hopkins County Judge Robert Newsom issued a declaration of disaster for the county. The declaration follows a month of heavy rainfall and severe thunderstorms that swept across much of the county. Newsom said his tardiness in issuing the declaration is attributed to the lack of electrical power and problems with the county’s phone system immediately following the May 25th severe weather. Although the initial declaration was made from the county judge’s office, within seven (7) days county commissioners’ court must approve the declaration for it to continue. Hopkins County Commissioners Court is expected to discuss the declaration during their regular session Monday morning, June 8.
Newsom said the declaration will be forwarded as a request for state and Federal Emergency Management Assistance (FEMA) to Doyce Winchester, Northeast Texas Emergency Management Director. In turn, Winchester will forward the request for assistance to Austin for approval of assistance funding. Newsom expects little or no financial assistance for the private sector but does expect public sector help. He stated that much of the damage done in the private section, homes and businesses, was covered by insurance. However, he pointed out that in the public sector–roads, streets, bridges, parks, and government and public buildings–there would be little or no insurance. Several reasons for state and federal assistance were noted by Newsom as he alluded to a bridge out in Precinct 1 and other street and road damage, damage to various city parks, and some public buildings that do not have insurance. He stated that he has either spoken with or would soon speak with officials in the cities Como, Cumby, Sulphur Springs as well as various communities in the county.
Newsom called request for state and federal assistance a lengthy process. It begins with the Declaration of a Local State of Disaster.