Governor Abbott Declares State Of Disaster In Texas Counties

AUSTIN, March 16, 2016 - As flooding continues to impact parts of East and Southeast Texas, Governor Greg Abbott today declared a state of disaster in the following counties: Angelina, Erath, Gregg, Hardin, Harrison, Hood, Jasper, Jefferson, Liberty, Madison, Marion, Newton, Orange, Parker, Sabine, San Augustine, and Tyler. The Governor also elevated the activation level of the State Operations Center (SOC) in Austin, and is urging Texans to stay on high alert and immediately heed any warnings from their local officials related to this severe flood threat.

“Flooding resulting from historic rainfall in East Texas is having a significant impact on residents,” said Governor Abbott. “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 continues to coordinate with the National Weather Service and their West Gulf River Forecast Center to monitor river conditions – which has indicated that the significant threat at this time is near the Sabine, Trinity and Neches rivers and their tributaries. The SOC also continues to coordinate with the Texas Emergency Management Council and is providing state resources and assistance to local leaders as requested. At the request of local leaders, the state is currently assisting with evacuations in Newton, Jasper and Orange counties. Additionally, the state continues to provide assistance for swift water rescues in the impacted areas as requested by local officials.

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.

Texans are urged to follow these safety tips during severe weather events:

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.



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