Governor Greg Abbott declared a state of disaster in seven Texas counties after severe weather and a tornado touched down in the early morning hours Monday.
Two people were killed in Van Zandt after the tornado hit and schools there are still closed. Eric Aasen, digital news editor at KERA North Texas, says for this, and the other counties – Bosque, Clay, Denton, Eastland, Gaines and Montague – there is still more dangerous weather and flash flooding warnings on the way.
Aasen says relief efforts are ramping up to meet the public’s need and there are a variety of crews from all levels – local, state and national – surveying the damage, trying to get power restored and cleaning up damage sustained by homes and buildings. Does declaring the counties a disaster area provide any monetary or support efforts?
“It does mean money,” he says. “It does mean support it means speedy support, speedy recovery from various agencies.”
Agencies could be penalized if there’s a slow response. But since there are a predicted number of storms rolling in within the next few days there could be even more damage.
“Crews have to spend quite a bit of time surveying not just a town, but throughout all corners of a county,” Aasen says. “It takes time to assess home damage, road damage, bridge damage and to come up with an estimated cost. It’s a potentially lengthy process and with more storms coming there might be more calculations to come.”
The biggest concern right now? Aasen says more rain. “We’ve had lots of rain over the past several days and several weeks across North Texas. The ground is saturated. The ground can’t really contain more rain,” he says.