Texas Gov. Rick Perry has asked President George W. Bush to issue a federal disaster declaration for 13 Texas counties struck by severe storms and sustained flooding from Nov. 15 through Dec. 4. The counties included in the request are Bastrop, Bexar, DeWitt, Goliad, Gonzales, Guadalupe, Hardin, Jackson, Jasper, Newton, Victoria, Wharton and Wilson.
“Many Texans are trying to rebuild their lives after heavy rains severely damaged their property and communities,” Perry said. “I am confident we will receive a swift response on this request so that residents of these communities can go forward with their recovery efforts.”
If a federal disaster declaration is granted, it could provide federal grants for individuals and families, disaster housing, disaster unemployment assistance, crisis counseling, Small Business Administration (SBA) disaster loans, U.S. Department of Agriculture loans and hazard mitigation.
Tornadic winds, hail, downburst rains and rising rivers caused serious damage across a broad area running roughly from the Hill country to the East Texas border and points south. Teams from the Governor’s Division of Emergency Management have been working side-by-side with local officials since before Thanksgiving to coordinate response, provide assistance and conduct joint damage assessments in the storm-stricken areas. Preliminary reports show that more than 1,000 homes have been affected by the storms.
In November, Texas experienced the highest level of rain for the month in the nearly 100 years since the National Weather Service (NWS) began keeping weather records. Some areas of Texas experienced rains nearly 10 times above normal levels, NWS officials said.
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