A Denton County EMS worker is asking for new tools to help folks get advanced warning in severe weather, as the county deals with millions in damage from the last storm.
Denton County's Emergency Management Coordinator, Jody Gonzalez, said more needs to be done to improve severe weather response in the area following a big hailstorm in the area the evening of April 3.
Gonzalez wants to expand use of the "Code Red" emergency alert system to the entire county.
Right now, Gonzalez said several cities like Denton and Krum use the system, but he wants to see it available to residents across the county — including in the unincorporated areas.
Gonzalez said "Code Red" sends text message alerts to subscribers warning them of dangerous situations like severe weather.
"It would be another tool in our kit," said Gonzalez.
Gonzalez plans to bring a proposal before the Denton County Commissioners Court next Tuesday.
Meanwhile, residents throughout the county are dealing with the costs from the waves of hail and severe storms that hit last Thursday; mainly in the North Denton area.
The Insurance Council of Texas estimated that the storm caused about $300 million in insured losses in the county. The ICT also estimated that approximately 24,000 vehicles and 12,000 homes were damaged across the county.
As of Thursday morning, many folks in Denton were meeting with repair workers and insurance agents to figure out just how much they’d be dealing with.
"My wife's car was $8,000 and my car was close to $6,000,” said Vincent Sudbeck, of Denton, who was now dealing with the damage on his son’s car as well.
Sudbeck said he will also be paying for a nearly totaled roof on his home and several broken windows, light fixtures and other items on and around his house.
"A nightmare,” Sudbeck said. “Even swimming pool damage. It was really just not a good day."
Another Denton resident getting his truck repaired Thursday reported damage to three cars, his home and a home he rents out. He said the final price tag would likely be close to $20,000. He was unsure how much of that would be covered by insurance and what would have to come out of pocket.
Lance Johnson of Certified National Hail Team brought his mobile repair unit to Denton from Waxahachie to help deal with all of the storm damaged vehicles.
"I would say we'll be here for a couple of months. That's how much damage there's been,” said Johnson.
So far, Johnson’s quotes for hail repair have been averaging between $1,200 and $8,000, but he said he’s seen several already that are beyond repair.
Johnson recommends people take their time to coordinate between insurance and repair shops to avoid paying high out-of-pocket costs. Johnson's team uses paintless repair as often as possible to keep the cost down.
Gonzalez said a lot of that property damage is unavoidable — especially when the area got hit by three hail storms within a few hours.
Gonzalez hopes a push for more advanced warning systems will give people more time to prepare and maybe even move a car into a garage to avoid damage. The real push though, he said, is saving lives.
Gonzalez also recommends residents invest in a weather radio if they don’t already own one. He said the warning tool is, in his opinion, just as important to have in your home as smoke detectors.