The Unforeseen Storm
No one expected a such an intense storm to crop up in Allen Saturday afternoon. I was driving eastbound on McDermott around 2:30 PM when, all of a sudden, I couldn’t see 100 feet in front of me. After deciding to play it safe and turning around to head home, I was shocked at the amount of flash flooding that occurred within minutes of first rainfall – even at intersections at high elevations. Not seeing any significant damage, I just sighed and thought, “that was interesting, glad it didn’t get any worse.”
At 4:00 PM, Allen Fire Chief Bill Hawley called and asked if Allen CERT could assist with cleanup efforts. Apparently, APD had already shut down some main roads and city crews were scrambling to repair damage to key infrastructure. Within minutes, CERT was formally activated and responders began showing up at the central fire station.
Our objective, as laid out by AFD, was to perform damage assessments and report any critical threats to life, property, and infrastructure.
By 4:45 PM, CERT responders were mobile. Exchange and Allen Heights was considered the epicenter as many damage reports from that area had already been communicated. In teams of two, responders performed drive-by damage assessments of the northeast quadrant of Allen within a 90-minute period – impressive!
The Net Control station (using the CERT repeater) received several reports of downed trees that were blocking roadways. That information was passed to city crews who quickly dispatched to those locations to remove the blockage. Using GroupMe, CERT responders were able to quickly upload images of damaged fences, downed trees, and flooding, along with specific locations of those events.
Overall, the event was handled with finesse and professionalism. Of the 126 activation messages that were transmitted, 62 were confirmed. Of those, 25 CERT members deployed, and logged a total of 73 volunteer hours that provided actionable intelligence to city personnel and solved many problems for Allen residents. The team did a wonderful job of documenting their work. Contact Chris Diltz to view all of the documentation from the response effort.
There are many lessons learned from this event but our objectives were accomplished and we have proven our protocols work. Stay tuned for additional developments as we are able to further improve our resources and capabilities.
Here are just a few of the many pictures of damage taken by our own responders (see GroupMe for additional pictures):