Texas Gov. Greg Abbott has declared a state of disaster in 17 counties in East and Southeast Texas because of flooding. The declaration was announced in a press release from the governor’s office Tuesday.
Counties under the declaration are Angelina, Erath, Gregg, Hardin, Harrison, Hood, Jasper, Jefferson, Liberty, Madison, Marion, Newton, Orange, Parker, Sabine, San Augustine and Tyler. Additionally, Abbott elevated the activation level for the State Operations Center in Austin.
Abbott is asking Texans to remain on high alert and pay attention to warnings from local officials in relation to the severe flood threat.
In the release, Abbott said, “Flooding resulting from historic rainfall in East Texas is having a significant impact on residents. The State of Texas continues to do everything it can to assist all the counties affected by this severe weather, and my thoughts and prayers are with all those impacted. I want to thank the first responders for their quick response to this disaster and ask that residents heed the warnings of local officials, particularly concerning evacuation notices.”
The State Operations Center coordinates with the National Weather Service and its West Gulf River Forecast Center monitoring river conditions, which have indicated that the significant threat currently is near the Sabine, Trinity and Neches rivers and tributaries. The State Operations Center is also working with the Texas Emergency Management Council and providing state resources and assistance to local leaders, as requested. Currently, the state is assisting with evacuations in Newton, Jasper and Orange counties and is providing assistance for swift water rescues in the impacted areas.
According to the release, state agencies activated and responding to this event include the Texas Department of Public Safety; Texas Division of Emergency Management; Texas Military Department; Texas Department of State Health Services; Texas A&M Forest Service; Texas Commission on Environmental Quality; Texas General Land Office; Texas A&M Engineering Extension Service/Texas Task Force 1; Texas Department of Transportation; Texas Park and Wildlife Department; Texas Department of Assistive and Rehabilitative Services; Texas Health and Human Services Commission; Texas Animal Health Commission; and the American Red Cross.
The governor’s office issued the following tips regarding flooding during severe weather:
- Remember that dangerous waters can seem deceptively calm and if you encounter flooding, move to higher ground – turn around, don’t drown.
- Avoid areas already flooded and avoid any fast-flowing water.
- Be extremely cautious of any water on roads or in creeks, streams, storm drains or other areas – never attempt to cross flowing streams or drive across flooded roadways and always observe road barricades placed for your protection.
- Monitor weather radios and news broadcasts for updated information on current and anticipated severe weather, and heed warnings by local officials – when in doubt, get out!
- Keep in mind that flood dangers are even harder to recognize at night.
For road conditions, go to DriveTexas.org.