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Coleman County damages estimated at $1.1 million

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COLEMAN COUNTY, Texas - Texas Gov. Greg Abbott included Coleman County in a list of 31 counties where states of disaster were declared. County officials are estimating damages totaling more than a million dollars.

Coleman County Emergency Management Coordinator John Pearce said most of the damage is to infrastructure. Several roads were reportedly washed out and hundreds of power lines were downed.

"Most of the damage has been to the infrastructure of county roads being washed away," Pearce said. "The [EF-1] tornado that came through from Echo to Burkett…took down power lines."

He said more than 400 power lines were damaged from Runnels to Coleman counties.

Novice was hit especially hard.

With a population hovering around 140 people, the entire Novice community feels the strain severe weather can cause.

"Because it is an economically strapped area, our budget is very low," said Terrilyn Taylor, who moved to Novice four years ago.

Taylor serves as the town's librarian and she said she started noticing weather eroding the county roads about two years ago. Recent rains have accelerated the road's deterioration.

"Water has rushed, it's come so hard and so fast that it runs along the ditches and washes out onto the roads," Taylor said. "There's no heavy rock left underneath it to create a road."

Pearce estimates the damages at Novice at over $14,000.

County Judge Billy Bledsoe sent a letter to Gov. Abbott Wednesday stating, "Coleman County does not have local funding available to make the needed repairs to provide these citizens with effective relief."

Taylor hopes the roads get fixed quickly because of the wear-and-tear it causes on her vehicles.

"If you don't have a pickup or a four-wheel-drive SUV, which a lot of us don't, it's really rough on your vehicles," Taylor said.

The last time Coleman County commissioners issued a disaster declaration was in 2005 due to wildfires, according to the emergency management coordinator.

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