Texas Emergency Management ONLINE 2015 Vol. 62 No. 8

Texas Severe Weather 2015 - Recovery Is Underway

Recovery is underway for the torrential storms that plagued Texas in May and June and lead to both a gubernatorial disaster declaration and a presidential declaration of major disaster (DR-4223).

NOAA observed rainfall amounts in Texas from May 4, 2015 to May 28, 2015

NOAA observed rainfall amounts in Texas from May 4, 2015 to May 28, 2015.

Virtually all of Texas experienced between 200 percent and 600 percent of normal rainfall in the month of May. Many rivers and tributaries were in major flood stage in the eastern two-thirds of the state causing significant damage to both infrastructure and housing along the banks. Several areas of the state experienced tornadoes and disastrous flash flooding that wreaked havoc in localized areas.


Then just when river flooding was subsiding to minor stages, Texas was hit with another round of significant rain the third week of June. This sent flooding back to major levels in many river basins and caused significant flash flooding in several areas of the state.

TDEM Recovery staff and city of Austin officials survey flood damage in Guerrero Park

TDEM Recovery staff and city of Austin officials survey flood damage in Guerrero Park.

This event is on par with Hurricane Rita in the amount of infrastructure damage and more than doubles the number of counties declared for Public Assistance infrastructure damage in recent memory.

Damage assessments have been a challenge for both local and state officials due to the number of areas that needed to be covered and that so many of the areas remained underwater for extensive periods, including some that are still in minor flood stage even today. FEMA has worked closely with state and local officials to make the process as painless as possible.

Seventy-three counties have been named to DR-4223 for Public Assistance and that number is expected to exceed 110 counties as damage assessments are completed in the next few weeks. Currently, the estimated response costs and infrastructure damage is over $380 million.

Individual Assistance state and FEMA preliminary damage assessments

Individual Assistance state and FEMA preliminary damage assessments.

TDEM and FEMA Public Assistance staff are working with local and state entities to document all eligible damages and expenses to begin the grant writing process to provide funding for those costs.

The number of houses that have been categorized as having major damage or as destroyed is over 3,400. There have been 47 counties declared for Individual Assistance. There have been over 28,000 households registered for FEMA assistance, and FEMA programs have paid out $70 million in assistance to disaster survivors. Additionally, there has been over $50 million in disaster loans to households and businesses by the Small Business Administration.


Individual Assistance and FEMA preliminary damage assessments via helicopter in Liberty and Walker counties

Individual Assistance and FEMA preliminary damage assessments via helicopter in Liberty and Walker counties.

Individual Assistance staff have coordinated with declared counties and FEMA to open 16 FEMA/State Disaster Recovery Centers (DRCs) and eight FEMA/State Mobile Disaster Recovery Centers (MDRCs) as of July 20, 2015, with additional DRCs planned to open. The voluntary agency liaison has supported Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster meetings in declared counties, coordinated and supported 15 long-term recovery groups for 11 counties. These groups will organize assistance for those survivors that have still have unmet needs after governmental aid has been exhausted. Individual Assistance staff have also coordinated with local jurisdictions in declared counties and FEMA to assess housing issues caused by the disaster and determine solutions.

Joint FEMA/state Disaster Recovery Center opens in Taylor in Williamson County

Joint FEMA/state Disaster Recovery Center opens in Taylor in Williamson County.

Fischer Store Road Bridge in Hays County on May 24, 2015

Fischer Store Road Bridge in Hays County on
May 24, 2015.


Tornado damage in Van Zandt County, May 11, 2015

Tornado damage in Van Zandt County,
May 11, 2015

Complete roadway washout near Granbury in Hood County

Complete roadway washout near Granbury in Hood County.

Tornado and severe weather damage in Eastland County, May 9, 2015

Tornado and severe weather damage in Eastland County, May 9, 2015.


Share |