FEMA approves federal emergency declaration for Texas after Hurricane Hanna

Monday, July 27, 2020
Disaster Declaration issued for 32 Texas counties during Hanna
Houston is expected to see more rain on Sunday and possible street flooding.

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- Gov. Greg Abbott announced on Sunday that FEMA approved a Federal Emergency Declaration after Hurricane Hanna made landfall in Texas.

This means that the federal government can now provide emergency protective measures to the state, like reimbursement for some of the state's funds that go into evacuation and shelter support.

"We will continue to work with our federal and local partners as we assess the damage from Hurricane Hanna and may seek additional federal assistance as we continue to respond, recover, and rebuild our communities," said Abbott.

The approval for federal assistance comes after Abbott issued an emergency declaration on Saturday in more than 30 counties, including Harris, Fort Bend, Galveston and Brazoria counties.

He also said Texas was prepared for Hurricane Hanna, despite the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

RELATED: Gov. Abbott says Texas is prepared to respond to Hurricane Hanna

DPS still has rescue teams in place with helicopters and boats to handle any rescues along the coast. Local and state emergency crews are still ready to respond to areas with significant damage and flooding.

"Any hurricane is an enormous challenge. This challenge is complicated and even more severe seeing that it is sweeping through an area, an area most challenged in the state for COVID-19," Abbott said. "Our hearts go out to everyone in the entire region affected by the hurricane."

Hanna first made its landfall on Padre Island on Saturday, and then moved to Kenedy County about one hour later.

SEE ALSO: 2 elderly rescued from sinking boat after Hurricane Hanna made landfall

"People should expect flash flooding and severe high level flooding. This flooding is so severe that it can be life threatening," Abbott said. "Everybody in the zone of the hurricane or flooding need to take precautions to protect your own life. Do not go out into the storm. There will be substantial property damage - in large part to flooding, also in part due to winds whipping in the region."

When Abbott issued the Disaster Declaration for 32 counties in Texas, it gave him the ability to waive statutes or rules that may hinder the state's recovery efforts after the storm.

"I think we are all very cautious. I think Harvey is very prevalent in everyone's mind still," said Nickea Bradley, Houston's emergency management coordinator.

In Houston, downpours occured on and off throughout the day on Saturday. The city received more than one to two inches of rain.

SEE MORE: Here's what Galveston looked like as Hurricane Hanna hit

Houston's Office of Emergency Management tested its hurricane response plans this week and wants Houstonians to be prepared for possible street flooding.

"AlertHouston.org is the place to sign up for alerts and know how to get the proper people and location. Like I said, build a plan and make a kit. Be prepared ahead of time and not in reaction mode," Bradley said.

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