More than two dozen Texas counties are now eligible for federal help following deadly end-of-December blizzards and tornadoes.
President Barack Obama on Tuesday declared 25 counties federal disaster areas. Gov. Greg Abbott on Jan. 26 requested the disaster designation to provide expanded government assistance.
"Federal funding is available to state 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 winter storms, tornadoes, straight-line winds, and flooding," the White House said Tuesday. "Federal funding is also available on a cost-sharing basis for hazard mitigation measures statewide."
The declaration covers Bailey, Castro, Childress, Cochran, Dallas, Deaf Smith, Dickens, Ellis, Hall, Hardeman, Harrison, Henderson, Hopkins, Kaufman, Kent, King, Lamb, Lubbock, Navarro, Parmer, Rains, Red River, Rockwall, Titus and Van Zandt counties.
Storms reached West Texas on Christmas Day. Twisters and other violent weather hit North Texas the following day, claiming at least 13 lives.
W. Craig Fugate, Administrator, Federal Emergency Management Agency, Department of Homeland Security, named Kevin L. Hannes as the Federal Coordinating Officer for federal recovery operations in the affected area.
FEMA said that damage surveys are continuing in other areas, and more counties and additional forms of assistance may be designated after the assessments are fully completed.
Abbott's request for individual assistance is pending for Collin, Dallas, Ellis, Franklin, Rockwall and Van Zandt counties.