Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Texas Governor Greg Abbott Adds 24 Counties To Disaster Declaration

As severe weather including tornadoes, heavy rainfall, thunderstorms and flooding continue across areas of Texas, Governor Greg Abbott today declared a state of disaster in Archer, Bastrop, Caldwell, Cass, Collin, Dewitt, Fannin, Grayson, Harrison, Hays, Henderson, Hidalgo, Hill, Houston, Kendall, Jasper, Johnson, Newton, Nueces, Parker, San Jacinto, Walker, Wichita and Wilson counties, authorizing further mobilization of state resources to assist impacted communities. Additional counties may be added to the declaration as the situation develops.

“The State of Texas has taken brisk action in dispatching all available resources to aid those affected by this severe weather system, and I strongly urge all Texans to exercise every possible precaution to ensure their safety and the safety of their families and neighbors,” said Governor Abbott. “My thoughts and prayers are with all the communities that are suffering as a result of this weather disaster, and I am grateful for the first responders who have worked tirelessly to provide shelter, care and resources to all impacted areas.”

Governor Abbott declared a state of disaster in Bosque, Clay, Denton, Eastland, Gaines, Montague and Van Zandt counties on May 11th, 2015 and added Cooke, Grimes, Hood, Navarro, Smith and Wise counties on May 15th, 2015. The Governor’s declaration follows an elevated activation of the Texas State Operations Center (SOC) to enable rapid deployment of state resources announced on Friday, May 4th.

Current forecasts indicate the continuation of possible severe thunderstorms, large hail, damaging winds, flash flooding, river flooding and tornadoes across the state throughout the week. At this time, any additional rainfall will exacerbate already saturated grounds, which could quickly lead to dangerous flash flooding and extended river flooding. The SOC – in coordination with the Texas Emergency Management Council – remains at an elevated activation level and is continuing to monitor weather conditions and coordinate with the National Weather Service.

Texans are encouraged to follow these safety tips during this weather event:

When severe storms threaten, the safest place to be is indoors.
Avoid areas already flooded and avoid any fast-flowing water.
Be extremely cautious of any water on roads or in creeks, streams, storm drains or other areas – never attempt to cross flowing streams or drive across flooded roadways and observe road barricades placed for your protection.
Remember that dangerous waters can seem deceptively calm, and if you encounter flooding, move to higher ground.
Monitor weather radios and news broadcasts for updated information on current and anticipated severe weather in your area.

Keep in mind that flood dangers are even harder to recognize at night.
Be mindful that rising and moving water can also threaten people on foot and individuals near recreational waterways impacted by significant rainfall.
Monitor weather radios and news broadcasts for updated information on current and anticipated severe weather in your area.

Stay informed and heed warnings by local officials.

For additional safety tips related to tornadoes, thunderstorms and flooding, see: http://dps.texas.gov/dem/ThreatAwareness/weather_aware_severe.htm

The American Red Cross has established the following website for individuals in impacted areas: https://safeandwell.communityos.org/cms/index.php

The following resources are involved in the state’s continued response to this weather event:

Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS): Assisting with reconnaissance, search and rescue efforts, and providing personnel and resources as needed.

Texas Parks & Wildlife Department (TPWD): Conducting search and rescue missions during flash flooding/water incidents in affected areas.

Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS): DSHS have mobilized resources, equipment and personnel to provide medical assistance as needed.

Texas Military Forces (TMF): TMF has deployed aircraft and high-profile vehicles, and continues providing assistance with search and rescue missions as needed.

Texas Task Force 1 (TTF1): Air and boat rescue squads have been deployed for search and rescue missions as needed.

Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ): Continues to monitor dams and river levels in the affected areas.

Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT): Crews have deployed resources to address flooding conditions and debris cleanup impacting roadways.

Public Utility Commission of Texas (PUC): Personnel continue to work with utility companies to resolve power/utility issues.

Texas Department of Agriculture (TDA): Assisting communities to apply for funds administered by TDA that will help with storm cleanup and rebuilding.

Voluntary Organizations Active in Disasters (VOAD): Organizations continue to provide shelter and other mass care needs as requested.

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