Federal Emergency Declared In Texas Amidst Severe Winter Weather
AUSTIN, TX - MAY 18: (EDITORIAL USE ONLY) Texas Governor Greg Abbott announces the reopening of more Texas businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic at a press conference at the Texas State Capitol in Austin on Monday, May 18, 2020. Abbott said that childcare facilities, youth camps, some professional sports, and bars may now begin to fully or partially reopen their facilities as outlined by regulations listed on the Open Texas websit
Lynda M. Gonzalez-Pool/Getty Images

President Joe Biden approved an emergency declaration for Texas on Sunday in response to Governor Greg Abbott’s request and warning on Saturday that residents across every part of the state would face freezing temperatures and “extremely harsh” winter weather in the coming days.

Under the federal emergency declaration, the Department of Homeland Security and the Federal Emergency Management Agency will coordinate relief efforts designed to alleviate “hardship and suffering” caused by the winter weather conditions.

“FEMA is authorized to identify, mobilize, and provide at its discretion, equipment and resources necessary to alleviate the impacts of the emergency. Emergency protective measures for mass care and sheltering and direct federal assistance will be provided at 75 percent federal funding,” said the Biden administration in a statement Sunday.

According to the National Weather Service, more than 120 million Americans are currently under “Winter Storm Warnings, Ice Storm Warnings, Winter Storm Watches, or Winter Weather Advisories,” as a result of strong “winter weather” across the U.S.

Abbott, who issued a disaster declaration Friday, warned earlier this weekend that the coming storm would be “unprecedented” in Texas history and that it “could make movement virtually impossible” in parts of the state, reports KWTX. “The temperature will go so low and remain so low for so long, it means there will be many roads across the state that will be extremely dangerous and treacherous to drive on,” even with road treatments, said Abbott.

“Stay off the roads, take conscious steps to conserve energy, and avoid dangerous practices like bringing generators indoors or heating homes with ovens or stovetops,” warned Abbot in a statement Saturday. “Our emergency response to this winter weather requires a collective approach between state agencies, local officials, and Texans throughout our communities to ensure the safety and security of the Lone Star State.”

Texas Senators Ted Cruz (R-TX) and John Cornyn (R-TX) emphasized the importance of approving the governor’s request for an emergency declaration in a joint statement on Sunday.

“The Governor and local officials have informed us that the severity and magnitude of the storm is beyond the response capabilities of the state and local government. Prolonged sub-freezing temperatures, strained energy capacity, and treacherous roadways are just a few of the current dangers faced by all Texans. In the last three days, there have been 11 crash-related fatalities as road conditions deteriorate. More than 23,000 Texans have lost power, and frozen pipes have impacted water distribution across the state,” the two Texas senators said, according to a local news report shared by Cruz on Twitter. “We respectfully urge you to approve the Governor’s request for Public Assistance Category B and Direct Federal Assistance for all 254 Texas counties.”

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