President Barack Obama signed a disaster declaration for areas in Texas that are affected by severe weather. The record setting rainfall that caused massive flooding, prompted mass evacuations and claimed at least 24 lives so far.
Obama’s federal aid, which was signed late on Friday, makes federal funding available to those affected in Harris, Hays, and Van Zandt counties in Texas to help rebuild their communities’ damaged infrastructure and homes. Other counties may also be added to the request later.
The National Weather Service said that there’s a 70-percent chance of heavy rain and thunderstorms in the Houston area from Saturday afternoon into Sunday.
City spokeswoman Sana Syed has posted a map on Twitter of the most vulnerable areas in Dallas. According to the National Weather Service, some areas of North Texas saw up to seven inches (17.8 cm) of rain on Friday, with hundreds of residents calling for help.
One Dallas-area police officer had to be plucked to safety by a helicopter after his SUV got trapped in rushing floodwaters.
One person was found dead in Dallas’ eastern suburb, Mesquite, after his pickup truck was submerged in floodwaters, TV station WFAA reported. The victim has not been identified.
On Friday, authorities identified the body of a 6-year-old boy who was in a vacation home in Wimberley that was swept away by rushing waters.
The home was knocked off its foundation and carried down the swollen Blanco River. The boy’s mother and his 4-year-old sister are still missing.
Thousands of cars were trapped for as long as six hours on a suburban freeway near Dallas on Friday, blocked by floodwaters. The Red Cross distributed cookies and water to stranded motorists, and opened a shelter for area residents impacted by the flood in Grand Prairie, a suburb of Dallas.
I feel like I am on an island and nobody cares,” Vanessa Paterson, who was on the highway with her 6-month-old son, told TV station WFAA.
Authorities have identified five of the six bodies found in Hays County. Six people are still listed as missing there, according to AP.
“Communities across the State of Texas have experienced devastating destruction, injury and – most tragically – loss of life due to the major and unceasing severe weather system that has been impacting our state for weeks,” Governor Greg Abbott, who has declared 70 counties disaster areas, stated.