Governor Abbott Appeals FEMA Denial Of Major Disaster Declaration For North Texas Tornadoes

April 28, 2020 | Austin, Texas | Press Release

Governor Greg Abbott today announced that the State of Texas has appealed the Federal Emergency Management Agency's (FEMA) denial of Texas' Major Disaster Declaration request for Public Assistance for Dallas and Erath Counties following severe storms, straight-line winds, and tornadoes during the period of October 20-21, 2019. The Governor sent a letter to FEMA asking the federal government to reverse their decision and provide much-needed assistance to local governments and non-profits for infrastructure and recovery efforts. 

During that two-day period, ten confirmed tornadoes ripped through North Texas, causing significant damage and fully exhausting diminished state resources. When Governor Abbott initially requested a Presidential Disaster Declaration for Public Assistance in January 2020, FEMA certified eligible damages of approximately $18 million, under the state threshold. Over the last six months, however, the Dallas Independent School District, hit hard by these tornadoes, has provided additional information on their insurance review totaling over $27 million in uninsured damages. This brings the total estimated damages for this event to over $45.6 million — far exceeding the state threshold for FEMA's Public Assistance Grant Program.

"The people of Texas are resilient and will continue to prepare, respond, recover, and mitigate against disasters — but federal assistance is needed for the communities impacted by these storms in order to expedite this process," said Governor Abbott. "I respectfully ask FEMA to reconsider their decision and provide this crucial support to the people of Dallas and Erath Counties."