As another round of heavy rains added to the damage wreaked by storms in Texas, President Barack Obama on Saturday issued a disaster declaration for the worst-affected regions of the state. The signing of the declaration means that federal funding would now be available to flood victims in Harris, Hays and Van Zandt counties.
“The president today … ordered federal aid to supplement state, tribal and local recovery efforts in the area affected by severe storms, tornadoes, straight-line winds and flooding beginning on May 4, 2015, and continuing,” the White House said in a statement released early Saturday. “Assistance can include grants for temporary housing and home repairs, low-cost loans to cover uninsured property losses, and other programs to help individuals and business owners recover from the effects of the disaster.”
Meanwhile, Texas Governor Greg Abbott also declared a state of disaster for another 24 counties on Friday, raising the total counties under state disaster declaration to 70. This move allows state resources to be used for storm response.
— NWS Fort Worth (@NWSFortWorth) May 30, 2015
So far, at least 35 people, including 15 in central Texas, 14 in northern Mexico and six in Oklahoma, have died in the severe flooding and tornadoes caused by torrential rains. Storms have damaged several buildings, submerged cars and flooded parts of major cities like Houston and Austin.
According to the National Weather Service, Texas has experienced a staggering 35 trillion gallons of rainfall over the last month. The agency warned that more bad weather is expected over the weekend as a strong cold front moves south and east.
How much is 35 trillion gallons? 35 trillion 1 gal. milk jugs filled with water would stretch from Earth to our Sun 34 times! #txwx
— NWS Fort Worth (@NWSFortWorth) May 29, 2015
“The large number of Texas counties currently experiencing a state of disaster is an indication of how severe this ongoing weather situation is,” Abbott said in a statement. “I strongly urge all Texans to take all precautions to protect themselves and their families and neighbors.”