Morning Tornado Briefing: Much Has Been Done, Much Still Needed

If you got out and about this weekend, or if you’ve made it into the office by now, you’ve likely noticed that traffic is much, much better. Roads are clearer, more traffic signals are coming back online, and while there is still much to be done, much has been done, too.

City Update

Late last night we got word that field workers are going through about 14 flats of water per day, according to one city official.

If you’re interested in helping provide that water, you can drop off bottled water donations only to City Hall, attention Carrie Prysock.

The Office of Emergency Management’s Multi-Agency Resource Center at 9509 Midway Road (Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints) is now open, as we mentioned yesterday. The Bachman Lake Recreation Center respite center is now closed.

Information for those who need services is provided in Spanish and English.

Dallas Fire and Rescue said they’ve cleared all major thoroughfares, although some are down to two lanes as the far-right lines have been utilized for debris staging. DFR will begin removing that debris now that the roads are clear. Sanitation is still working to clear debris, too.

And because those roads are clear, Dallas Police now has fewer officers in the field, where they had been controlling barricades and directing traffic.

Sunday crews were working to restore traffic signals that were not working. A traffic controller device at Royal Lane and the Dallas North Tollway has been damaged, causing the signal to be on flash. If it’s still not operable during peak driving, Dallas Police will help direct traffic.

City transportation is still working with Oncor to restore power to a handful of other signals as well.

Now that more people are able to get back to their homes, and as they are getting repairs made, the city is processing a high volume of emergency power release requests. Those calls come through 3-1-1, but there are longer wait times. The city said callers should stay on the line so they can speak directly to an operator.

AT&T has 44 crews working to restore phone and internet access, and has begun hanging fiber cable along Harry Hines. The area from Royal Lane to the Dallas North Tollway to North Central Expressway may take longer, because power will need to be restored first.

“Specifically, telephone services take longer to restore since lines are specific to each customer,” the city explained.

AT&T will be releasing more information on the delays today. Customers without service must call  1-800-288-2020 to submit a trouble ticket to have service connection addressed.

Spectrum said it is also working restore service to customers, but must also wait for clearance from Oncor.

Oncor and the city said that customers’ licensed and City of Dallas registered electrical contractors can call 3-1-1 for emergency power releases over the weekend, and that releases are available on Saturdays and Sundays from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. When those releases are issued, Oncor will restore power to the affected business or residence.

“A customer must also call their Retail Electric Provider (REP) to request a reconnection of their service,” Oncor said. “The REP will submit the reconnect order to Oncor and assist the customer with the appropriate steps to ensure their request is submitted properly.”

Don’t know who your provider is, or have other questions? Call Oncor’s Tornado Hotline number at 1-800-666-8154.

Dallas CERT Offers Emergency Training

If you felt a little powerless and unsure of what to do after the Oct. 20 tornadoes, Dallas Community Emergency Response Team training may ease your mind a bit.

Volunteers can become CERT members after completing class sessions taught by local emergency management and first responders. It’s a bit of a time commitment — 20 hours of practical training and team-building exercises.

Volunteers become CERT members when they’ve completed class sessions taught by local emergency management and professional first responders. Classes include 20 hours of practical training and team-building exercises, including a final session with a disaster simulation that gives volunteers the opportunity to apply their new skills.

Applications for the Nov. 2 training cohort are being accepted now.

Reliant To Announce Donation to Dallas ISD

After hundreds of teachers at Thomas Jefferson High School, Cary Middle School, and Walnut Hill Elementary were moved to new schools, they had to rush to set up new classrooms. Reliant announced late last week it would like to help, and will present a check for $25,000 to Dallas ISD today at 10:30 a.m.

Help Aspiring Young Journalists

The journalism program at Thomas Jefferson — just like many other programs — suffered great losses after the tornado massively damaged their school.

The journalism department has been left with no resources in the aftermath, including the tools needed to complete their 2020 yearbook, or planned newspaper editions.

The class lost three of its six DSLR cameras and an entire cart of laptops, and while adviser Tyler Smith said they are “used to doing a lot with a little,” the losses make it impossible to do even that.

A GoFundMe campaign has been launched to help them replace those items.



Bethany Erickson

Bethany Erickson, Digital Editor at People Newspapers, cut her teeth on community journalism, starting in Arkansas. Recently, she's taken home a few awards for her writing, including first place for her tornado coverage from the National Newspapers Association's 2020 Better Newspaper Contest, a Gold award for Best Series at the 2018 National Association of Real Estate Editors journalism awards, a 2018 Hugh Aynesworth Award for Editorial Opinion from the Dallas Press Club, and a 2019 award from NAREE for a piece linking Medicaid expansion with housing insecurity. She is a member of the Education Writers Association, the Society of Professional Journalists, the National Association of Real Estate Editors, the News Leaders Association, the News Product Alliance, and the Online News Association. She doesn't like lima beans, black licorice or the word synergy. You can reach her at

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