Governor Abbott Requests Presidential Disaster Declaration For Severe Weather, Flooding

May 15, 2024 | Austin, Texas | Press Release

Governor Greg Abbott today sent a letter to President Joe Biden requesting a Presidential Disaster Declaration for Texas communities impacted by recent severe weather and flooding that began on April 26. The Governor’s letter requests Individual Assistance programs for seven impacted counties and Public Assistance programs for 26 impacted counties.
“Due to severe weather and flooding that continues to cause devastating damage in several of our communities, I am requesting a Presidential Disaster Declaration," said Governor Abbott. “The extensive damage caused by these severe storms, historic river flooding, and tornadoes requires comprehensive, robust action by all levels of government to help Texans rebuild and recover. This Presidential Disaster Declaration will give local communities access to critical financial assistance that will help cover costs ranging from temporary housing and home repairs to grant funding for roads and bridges. I thank the Texas Division of Emergency Management for working with our local and federal partners to bolster Texas’ recovery efforts across the state.”
The request to declare a major disaster for the State of Texas comes after an initial review of damage sustained due to catastrophic flash flooding, historic river flooding, extremely large hail, damaging wind gusts, and destructive tornadoes. Local jurisdictions have reported more than $58 million in public infrastructure damage estimates thus far, including disaster response costs and debris management.
If the Governor’s request for a Presidential Disaster Declaration is granted, qualifying Texans who sustained damage would be eligible to apply for Individual Assistance Program funding to assist with expenses such as temporary housing, emergency home repairs, uninsured and underinsured personal property losses, disaster legal services, disaster unemployment assistance, and medical, dental, and funeral expenses caused by the disaster. Counties requested for Individual Assistance programs include Harris, Liberty, Montgomery, Polk, San Jacinto, Trinity, and Walker counties.
Additionally, upon approval of the Governor’s request, jurisdictions in the designated counties would be eligible for the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Public Assistance program, including grant funding for debris removal, emergency protective measures, roads and bridges, water control facilities, public buildings and contents, public utilities, parks, recreational, and other facilities. Counties requested for Public Assistance programs include Bosque, Concho, Coryell, Eastland, Falls, Freestone, Grimes, Hamilton, Hardin, Hill, Houston, Kaufman, Lampasas, Leon, Liberty, Limestone, Madison, McCulloch, Milam, Mills, Montgomery, Polk, San Jacinto, San Saba, Trinity, and Walker counties.
Approval of the request would also authorize additional FEMA Hazard Mitigation Grant Program resources statewide and would authorize the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) Disaster Loan Program for physical and economic loss for designated counties. 
Governor Abbott continues to take action to provide all available resources to help support local communities from the impacts of severe weather, including:

  • Readying state emergency response resources on April 25 ahead of wildfire and severe weather threats.
  • Issuing a disaster declaration on April 30 for counties affected by recent storms and deploying additional state emergency response resources in anticipation of severe weather and flooding. The Governor first amended his disaster declaration on May 2, updated it further on May 7, and amended the state declaration again today.
  • Increasing the readiness level of the State Emergency Operations Center to help support local officials with requests for state assistance.
  • Holding a briefing with local and state officials from impacted areas and providing an update on the state’s robust response efforts in support of local communities.

Read the Governor’s Letter.