Home » Winter storm could cost Texas more money than any disaster in state history

Winter storm could cost Texas more money than any disaster in state history

by

 

 

The winter storm that left dozens of Texans dead, millions without power and nearly 15 million with water issues could be the costliest disaster in state history, potentially exceeding the $125 billion in damage from Hurricane Harvey.

The deadly 2017 hurricane devastated the Gulf Coast region. Last week’s winter storm impacted every region of the state, a reason why experts and officials are discussing the possibility of damage and cost exceeding those from Hurricane Harvey.

“All 254 counties will have been impacted in some way by the freeze,” said Lee Loftis, director of government affairs for the Independent Insurance Agents of Texas. “That is just unheard of.”

As of Monday, state agencies reported spending $41 million on the storm, and local governments had spent $49 million, according to Nim Kidd, chief of the Texas Department of Emergency Management. Kidd said he expects the state to be reimbursed for 75% of its expenses by the federal government. Only a fraction of local governments reported their spending, and he said the expenses already incurred by state and local governments only account for emergency costs. Kidd has not yet reported the cost of damage to state infrastructure.

Loftis said it is too early to tally the total cost of destruction, and state Sen. Jane Nelson, chair of the powerful Senate Finance Committee that hosted Kidd on Monday, said the state’s share of the financial toll is not yet known. But while state lawmakers over the last decade repeatedly ignored recommendations to protect the state’s power grid from extreme weather, they have an opportunity to address the energy and water crises — and possibly prevent Texans from ever having to again endure days without basic necessities like clean water and working lights.

Lawmakers are in the middle of the 2021 legislative session, where they have been working through issues unrelated to the twin crises since they convened at the Capitol in January. Back then, state Comptroller Glenn Hegar told lawmakers how much money they’d have to spend on a state budget for the next two years.

After a bleak prediction last summer, when Hegar told lawmakers he projected that they would have a $4.6 billion deficit in 2021, Hegar had rosier news for lawmakers in January. Hegar’s projection in January was roughly a $1 billion deficit, still a deficit but significantly better than his previous estimate from the summer when the coronavirus was ravaging the economy.

Most of Abbott’s focus on energy this year before the storm centered on fighting President Joe Biden on energy and climate issues, despite experts saying Biden’s moves could help Texas.

Abbott went to the oil-rich Permian Basin in West Texas in January and signed an executive order to “direct every state agency to use all lawful powers and tools to challenge any federal action that threatens the” energy sector in Texas. And he announced his support for legislation that “prohibits cities and counties from banning natural gas appliances.”

Then last week’s winter storm hit. It exposed problems lawmakers failed to address in previous legislative sessions and showed the vulnerabilities of the state’s natural gas system, which was not prepared for the cold.

Now, lawmakers say they will take action.

They have until May to write the state budget for the next two years. Leaders in the state House and Senate already released their preliminary budgets, which did not dedicate money toward the kinds of measures that would prevent another power grid failure.

Abbott has asked lawmakers to reform the Electric Reliability Council of Texas, the state’s power grid operator. He asked lawmakers to mandate the winterization of generators and power plants, a proposal previously floated but not implemented by state leaders in the aftermath of another winter storm in 2011. And Abbott requested that lawmakers provide power companies with funding to make the necessary changes.

But retroactively equipping power plants to withstand cold temperatures is likely to be very difficult and costly, energy experts said. Building energy infrastructure to perform in winter conditions is easier and cheaper, they said.

Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick on Tuesday released a list of 31 legislative priorities, a mix of newly urgent issues after the storm, familiar topics stemming from the coronavirus pandemic and a host of hot-button conservative issues. Patrick’s list was vague and did not provide specifics. Almost all of his priority bills have not been filed.

It is unclear where the money for storm-related bills would come from. Lawmakers have access to the state’s savings account, called the Economic Stabilization Fund or rainy day fund, which has more than $10 billion for them to spend. State Rep. Lyle Larson, R-San Antonio, said Sunday that “the rainy day fund should be used to offset increased energy cost for rate payers.”

There will be federal assistance for Texas, as Kidd emphasized in Monday’s Senate Finance Committee meeting. Texans in more than 100 counties can already begin applying for Federal Emergency Management Agency relief totaling $45 billion to $50 billion for the state, according to AccuWeather.

In the same meeting on Monday, Hegar, the comptroller, did not yet have data available on the storm’s financial toll, but one point he made was clear.

“Unfortunately,” Hegar said, “the last few days have been a black eye on the reputation of Texas.”

ARTICLE BY MITCHELL FERMAN, TEXASTRIBUNE.ORG

You may also like

 

 

 

 

Arturo's Wood Fired Pizza Gallery About

Hours
Tuesday - Sunday:
11:00 AM - 9:00 PM
Monday
Closed
Dine in restaurant serving handmade, wood fired pizzas and beer.
 

Phone:(903) 951-1444

arturoswoodfiredpizza.com
 

221 Main St
Sulphur Springs, TX 75482

 

CLICK HERE FOR DIRECTIONS

 

 

 

 

Phinesse Farms Winery About

Hours
Tuesday - Sunday:
11:00 AM - 9:00 PM
Monday
Closed
Dine in restaurant serving handmade, wood fired pizzas and beer.
 

Phone:(903) 951-1444

arturoswoodfiredpizza.com
 

221 Main St
Sulphur Springs, TX 75482

 

CLICK HERE FOR DIRECTIONS

 

 

 

 

Backstory Brewery About

Hours
Tuesday - Thursday:
11:00 AM - 9:00 PM
Friday - Saturday
12:00 PM - 12:00 AM
Sunday:
12:00 PM - 4:00 PM
Monday:
Closed
a production brewery located in beautiful downtown Sulphur Springs, Tx.
 

Phone: (903) 438-2337

backstorybrewery.com
 

211 Magnolia St
Sulphur Springs, TX 75482

 

CLICK HERE FOR DIRECTIONS

 

 

 

 

San Remos About

Hours
Tuesday - Sunday:
11:00 AM - 9:00 PM
Monday
Closed
Dine in restaurant serving authentic Italian dishes, wine, beer and cocktails.
 

Phone:(903) 558-1200

sanremoitalian.com
 

226 Connally St
Sulphur Springs, TX 75482

 

CLICK HERE FOR DIRECTIONS

 

 

 

 

Don Lalo's About

Hours
Tuesday - Sunday:
11:00 AM - 9:00 PM
Monday
Closed
Dine in restaurant serving classic Tex-Mex dishes and cocktails.
 

Phone: (903) 558-1859

 

912 Gilmer St
Sulphur Springs, TX 75482

 

CLICK HERE FOR DIRECTIONS

 

 

 

 

Tierra Del Sol About

Hours
Sunday- Saturday:
11:00 AM - 9:00 PM
Offers a variety of Tex-Mex dishes, chips and salsa and drinks.
 

Phone: (903) 885-5845

 

1402 Mockingbird Ln
Sulphur Springs, TX 75482

 

CLICK HERE FOR DIRECTIONS

 

 

 

 

Juan Pablos About

Hours
Sunday- Thursday:
11:00 AM - 9:00 PM
Friday - Saturday
11:00 AM - 10:00 PM
Offers a variety of slow smoked Texas BBQ meats with a relaxed vibe here in beautiful Sulphur Springs, TX. They have outdoor covered/ shaded seating for your dining pleasure.
 

Phone: (903) 885-0066

 

1216 Mockingbird Ln
Sulphur Springs, TX 75482

 

CLICK HERE FOR DIRECTIONS

 

 

 

 

Los Mochis About

Hours
Sunday- Thursday:
11:00 AM - 9:00 PM
Friday - Saturday
11:00 AM - 10:00 PM
Offers a variety of slow smoked Texas BBQ meats with a relaxed vibe here in beautiful Sulphur Springs, TX. They have outdoor covered/ shaded seating for your dining pleasure.
 

Phone: (903) 919-3760

losmochistexmex.getbento.com
 

101 Gilmer St
Sulphur Springs, TX 75482

 

CLICK HERE FOR DIRECTIONS

 

 

 

 

Slaughter's BBQ Oasis About

Hours
Wednesday - Saturday:
10:00 AM - 6:00 PM
Offers a variety of slow smoked Texas BBQ meats with a relaxed vibe here in beautiful Sulphur Springs, TX. They have outdoor covered/ shaded seating for your dining pleasure.
 

Phone:  (903) 243-7187

slaughtersbbqoasis.com
 

1000 Gilmer St Suite Q
Sulphur Springs, TX 75482

 

CLICK HERE FOR DIRECTIONS

 

 

 

 

Ihop About

Hours
Monday - Friday:
6:00 AM - 10:00 PM
Saturday:
24hrs
Sunday:
12:00 AM -10:00 PM
Long-standing chain serving a wide variety of pancakes & other American breakfast & diner fare.
 

Phone: (903) 885-2406

ihop.com
 

150 E Shannon Rd E
Sulphur Springs, TX 75482

 

CLICK HERE FOR DIRECTIONS

 

 

 

 

Panda Express About

Hours
Monday - Sunday:
10:30 AM - 9:30 PM
Fast food  restaurant chain that serves American Chinese cuisine. With over 2,200 locations, it is the largest Asian-segment restaurant chain in the United States
 

Phone: (903) 439-3293

pandaexpress.com
 

150 E Shannon Rd E
Sulphur Springs, TX 75482

 

CLICK HERE FOR DIRECTIONS

 

 

 

 

Broadway Buffet About

Hours
Monday - Thursday:
10:30 AM - 9:00 PM
Friday - Sunday:
10:30 AM - 9:30 PM
Takeout, Dine In, Delivery. Made to order Sushi, Burgers, Stir-Fry and other Asian Fusion menu items. Burgers, Sushi, Stir-fry and more!
 

Phone: (903) 885-7959

broadwaybuffettx.com
 

1145 S Broadway St

Sulphur Springs, TX 75482

 

CLICK HERE FOR DIRECTIONS

 

 

 

 

MAAK About

Hours
Sunday - Monday:
Closed
Tuesday - Saturday:
11 AM - 8:00 PM
Takeout, Dine In, Delivery. Made to order Sushi, Burgers, Stir-Fry and other Asian Fusion menu items. Burgers, Sushi, Stir-fry and more!
 

Phone: (903) 689-2334

themaak.com
 

 208 Main St

Sulphur Springs, TX 75482

 

CLICK HERE FOR DIRECTIONS

 

 

 

 

Sakura Sushi & Seafood Grill About

Hours
Wednesday - Monday
11 AM - 9:30 PM
Dine in sushi and seafood grill.
 

Phone: (903) 438-0088

sakurasushitx.com
 

 1408 S Broadway St suit 150

Sulphur Springs, TX 75482

 

CLICK HERE FOR DIRECTIONS

 

 

 

 

 Big Smith's BBQ  About

Hours
Monday - Friday
10:30 AM - 10:00 PM
Counter-serve chain offering fried fish & seafood combos, plus chicken & sides.
 

Phone: (903) 439-6067

ljsilvers.com
 

1338 S Broadway St

Sulphur Springs, TX 75482

 

CLICK HERE FOR DIRECTIONS

 

 

 

 

 Big Smith's BBQ  About

Hours
Sunday - Wednesday
10:30 AM - 10:00 PM
Thursday - Saturday
10:30 AM - 12:00 AM
Established, no-nonsense BBQ institution preparing smoked meat & fried seafood dinners & sandwiches.
 

Phone: (903) 438-1547

 

4858 TX-154

Sulphur Springs, TX 75482

 

CLICK HERE FOR DIRECTIONS

 

 

 

Soulman's BBQ About

Hours
Sunday - Wednesday
10:30 AM - 10:00 PM
Thursday - Saturday
10:30 AM - 12:00 AM
Casual counter-serve chain serving a variety of barbecue & sides.
 

Phone: (903) 919-3617

soulmans.com
 

1310 Hillcrest Dr N

Sulphur Springs, TX 75482

 

CLICK HERE FOR DIRECTIONS

 

 

 

Wing Stop About

Hours
Sunday - Wednesday
10:30 AM - 10:00 PM
Thursday - Saturday
10:30 AM - 12:00 AM
Casual counter-serve chain serving a variety of chicken wings & sides.
 

Phone: (903) 335-8431

wingstop.com
 

1602 S Broadway St

Sulphur Springs, TX 75482

 

CLICK HERE FOR DIRECTIONS

 

 

 

Chilis Grill & Bar About

Hours
Sunday - Thursday
10:45 AM - 10:00 PM
Friday - Saturday
10:45 AM - 12:00 AM
Family-friendly chain serving classic Tex-Mex & American fare in a Southwestern-style setting.
 

Phone: (903) 885-5242

chilis.com
 

128 Shannon Rd E
Sulphur Springs, TX 75482

 

CLICK HERE FOR DIRECTIONS

 

 

 

Metro Diner About

Hours
Open 24/7
Comfort food with a flair.
 

Phone: (903) 885-6446

 

105 Industrial Dr W

Sulphur Springs, TX 75482

 

CLICK HERE FOR DIRECTIONS

 

 

 

El Charro Restaurant About

Hours
Saturday - Tuesday :
Closed
Wednesday - Thursday
11:00 AM - 8:00 PM
Friday:
11:00 AM - 9:00 PM
Classic Tex-Mex dishes and more.
 

Phone: (903) 885-5669

 

215 College St

Sulphur Springs, TX 75482

 

CLICK HERE FOR DIRECTIONS

 

 

 

Here's 2 Us About

Hours
Tuesday - Friday:
11:00 AM - 12:00 AM
Saturday
11:00 AM - 1:00 AM
Sunday:
11:00 AM - 12:00 AM
Monday: Closed
Bar & restaurant atmosphere serving delicious burgers, sandwiches and more.
 

Phone: (903) 689-4563

 

109 N Davis St

Sulphur Springs, TX 75482

 

CLICK HERE FOR DIRECTIONS

 

 

 

Flip's Burgerland About

Hours
Monday:
11:00 AM - 2:00 PM
Tuesday - Saturday
11:00 AM - 8:00 PM
Sunday: Closed
Family restaurant atmosphere serving delicious burgers, sandwiches and more.
 

Phone: (903) 919-5031

 

210 Main St

Sulphur Springs, TX 75482

 

CLICK HERE FOR DIRECTIONS

 

 

 

Pioneer Cafe About

Hours
Monday - Friday
6:00 AM - 2:00 PM
Saturday - Sunday
Closed
Family restaurant atmosphere serving delicious country food, breakfast, sandwiches, desserts and more.
 

Phone: (903) 885-7773

 

307 Main St

Sulphur Springs, TX 75482

 

CLICK HERE FOR DIRECTIONS

 

 

 

Muddy Jakes About

Hours
Sunday - Thursday
11:00 AM - 10:00 PM
Friday - Saturday
11:00 AM - 2:00 AM
Bar and family restaurant atmosphere serving delicious steaks, burgers, fries, sandwiches, desserts and more.
 

Phone: (903) 885-1600

muddyjakes.com
 

229 Main St

Sulphur Springs, TX 75482

 

CLICK HERE FOR DIRECTIONS

 

 

 

Burgers and Fries About

Hours
Sunday:
Closed
Monday - Friday:
10:30AM - 7:00PM
Saturday:
10:30AM - 6:00PM
Serving delicious burgers, fries, sandwiches, desserts and more.
 

Phone: (903) 885-9496

 

208 College St

Sulphur Springs, TX 75482

 

CLICK HERE FOR DIRECTIONS

 

 

 

Bodacious BBQ About

Hours
Sunday-Saturday
10:30 AM-8:30 PM
Serving delicious BBQ , sandwiches, desserts and more.
 

Phone: (903) 885-6456

bodaciousbbqsulphursprings.com
 

1228 S Broadway St

Sulphur Springs, TX 75482

 

CLICK HERE FOR DIRECTIONS

 

 

 

Roma's Italian Restaurant About

Hours
Tuesday - Saturday:
8:00 AM - 9:00PM
Sunday:
8:00AM - 3:00PM
Monday:
Closed
Serving delicious Italian specialties, sandwiches, salads, soups, desserts and more.
 

Phone: (903) 919-5100

 

400 Shannon Rd E

Sulphur Springs, TX 75482

 

CLICK HERE FOR DIRECTIONS

 

 

 

Haystacks  About

Hours
Tuesday - Saturday:
8:00 AM - 9:00PM
Sunday:
8:00AM - 3:00PM
Monday:
Closed
Serving delicious sandwiches, salads, soups, desserts and more for 20 years! We look forward to serving you breakfast or lunch!
 

Phone: (903) 689-2991

haystackstexas.com
 

206 Main St

Sulphur Springs, TX 75482

 

CLICK HERE FOR DIRECTIONS

 

 

 

Redneck Bar and Grill  About

Hours
Sunday-Monday:
Closed
Tuesday- Thursday:
11am-2pm
5pm-8pm
Friday - Saturday:
11:00am - 9:00pm
Serving delicious sandwiches, salads, soups, desserts and more for 20 years! We look forward to serving you breakfast or lunch!
 

Phone: (903) 885-1600

 

211 Main St

Sulphur Springs, TX 75482

 

CLICK HERE FOR DIRECTIONS

 

 

Corner Grub House About

Hours

Monday - Friday:
7:30am - 4:00pm
Saturday:
10:00am - 4:00pm
Serving delicious sandwiches, salads, soups, desserts and more for 20 years! We look forward to serving you breakfast or lunch!
 

Phone: (903) 885-9225

 

cornergrubhouse.com

 

 

120 Main St.
Sulphur Springs, Tx 75482

 

CLICK HERE FOR DIRECTIONS

 

 

Plain & Fancy About
120 Main St.
Sulphur Springs, Tx 75482

Hours
Monday - Friday:
7:30am - 4:00pm
Saturday:
10:00am - 4:00pm

Serving delicious sandwiches, salads, soups, desserts and more for 20 years! We look forward to serving you breakfast or lunch! Serving delicious sandwiches, salads, soups, desserts and more for 20 years! We look forward to serving you breakfast or lunch!
(903) 885-9225
plainandfancyshoppe.com
CLICK HERE FOR DIRECTIONS