Gov. Abbott issues disaster declaration to help Texas counties impacted by flooding

Gov. Abbott issues disaster declaration to help Texas counties impacted by flooding

Following severe flooding in Dallas and other parts of the state, Gov. Greg Abbott issued a storm disaster declaration for 23 counties on Aug. 23.

The declaration allows officials to deploy emergency resources in response to storms across the state. It includes counties impacted by damaging winds, heavy rainfall, flash flooding and river flooding. Additional counties may be added to the declaration as storms move across the state, Abbott said.

The governor signed the declaration during a news conference at Dallas City Hall.

The heavy rainfall and flash flooding that hit Dallas on Aug. 22 was the area’s worst rainstorm since 1932, Abbott said.

Abbott told reporters that 100 homes across the state were damaged during the storms. One death has been reported in Mesquite, a city about 14 miles from Dallas.

At the news conference, Dallas Mayor Eric Johnson said the city has experienced a series of “unprecedented disasters” in recent years. He called the storm a “once in 1,000 years” weather event, but emphasized that the city did not sustain any “catastrophic damage.”

A local state of disaster was declared in Dallas County on Aug. 22.

Dallas Water Utilities Director Terry Lowery said, due to the high volume of rain, flooding was inevitable in Dallas. She said older areas of the city, which have smaller infrastructure, were more heavily impacted by the storms.

Texas has applied for emergency assistance from the Federal Emergency Management Agency. State officials must record just under $50 million in damages to uninsured property to qualify for assistance, according to Chief Nim Kidd, who leads the Texas Department of Emergency Management.

Kidd told reporters that approximately half of the homes in “special flood hazard area[s]” in Dallas County do not have flood insurance. Only uninsured property is eligible for federal assistance.

Officials encourage Texans impacted by the flash floods to fill out the TDEM’s damage survey, which is available in both English and Spanish. This will help the state determine the scope of the damages and identify whether or not Texas is eligible for federal funding, according to a news release from Abbott’s office.

As of Aug. 23, the storm disaster declaration includes the following counties: Camp, Culberson, Dallas, Duval, Ellis, El Paso, Henderson, Hopkins, Hudspeth, Kaufman, Kerr, Live Oak, Marion, Montague, Navarro, Pecos, Rains, Smith, Tarrant, Upshur, Van Zandt, Webb and Wood.

In early July, Abbott issued a drought disaster declaration for over 150 Texas counties, which is still in effect.

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