Texas Floods – More Dead as President Declares Disaster

The US President signed a disaster declaration late on Friday 29 May 2015 for areas in Texas hit by floods and severe weather that has killed over 20 people in the state, with several still missing.

Rescue and emergency teams found the bodies of 4 more victims yesterday. Latest reports say that 11 people are still missing. In Texas alone, 24 people have died in floods this month. Four people also died in floods that hit Oklahoma.

More heavy rain fell yesterday, Friday 29 May 2015, with Dallas the worst hit. Some areas saw up to seven inches (17.8 cm) of rain fall in 24 hours. Thousands of drivers were trapped for 5 or 6 hours on a suburban freeway blocked by floods. Emergency crews found the body of a man who drowned in his vehicles after it was swept away by flood water in Mesquite.

The rain has fallen non-stop in parts of Texas since early May. It has inundated a state that until recently was suffering a severe drought. State climatologist John Nielsen-Gammon yesterday said that May 2015 has been the wettest month on record for Texas.

Such prolonged heavy rainfall has left river levels extremely high, and the Colorado River in Wharton and the Brazos and San Jacinto rivers in the Houston area are of particular concern.

Disaster Declaration

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency announced that federal disaster aid has been made available to the State of Texas and ordered federal aid to supplement state, tribal, and local recovery efforts in the area affected by severe storms, tornadoes, straight-line winds and flooding during the period beginning 04 May 2015 and continuing.

The President’s action makes federal funding available to affected individuals in Harris, Hays, and Van Zandt counties.

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.

Federal funding also is available to state, tribal, and eligible local governments and certain private nonprofit organizations on a cost-sharing basis for emergency work and the repair or replacement of facilities damaged by the severe storms, tornadoes, straight-line winds and flooding in Cooke, Gaines, Grimes, Harris, Hays, Navarro, and Van Zandt counties.

Individuals and business owners who sustained losses in the designated area can begin applying for assistance by registering online at www.DisasterAssistance.gov or by calling 1-800-621-FEMA (3362)

Memorial Parkway into Downtown Houston following the 25 May 2015 flash flood. Photo:  Elliott Blackburn under Creative Commons
Memorial Parkway into Downtown Houston following the 25 May 2015 flash flood. Photo:
Elliott Blackburn under Creative Commons