By JESSIE HORTON
ERATH COUNTY (June 2, 2016) – Water, water everywhere… This month Texas has seen plenty of water in the form of flooding rains across the state.
With that in mind, County Judge Tab Thompson, like many other county judges across the state, appealed to the governor’s office for help. After hearing from several local officials in the area, Texas Governor Greg Abbott elevated the State Operations Center in Austin’s activation level on Friday, May 27, as rains continued throughout the weekend.
More rain is predicted in coming days and the governor’s office continues to urge all Texans to stay on high alert and immediately heed any warnings from their local officials should a severe flood threat affect them. Erath County is predicted to see quite a bit more rain in coming days and with it, more flooding, which has local officials hard at work.
This week, Abbott declared a state of disaster for 31 Texas counties including Erath, Hood, Leon, Palo Pinto, Parker and others. Thompson said this will allow the county to apply for aid from the state government to help cover the costs of repairing public property including roadways and bridges that have been damaged. He said it will greatly help with the cost, so long as each county meets a cost threshold, but “there’s no doubt we (Erath County) will far exceed that threshold.”
“As our state continues to face waves of severe weather and potential flooding, it is crucial that Texans remain vigilant and heed warnings and any evacuation notices from local officials in their areas,” said Governor Abbott Thursday morning. “The State of Texas stands ready to assist all counties affected by severe weather and has dedicated the resources necessary to ensure the safety of those at risk. I would like to thank the first responders who have rescued residents from rising waters and ask all Texans to keep those affected in their thoughts and prayers.”
Judge Thompson agrees with Abbott, saying he is grateful to all the first responders who’ve been out on water rescues and responding to accidents. The county just asks residents and local drivers use caution with traversing the roadways during the storm and rain event. Thompson said the county requests all drivers be aware of their surroundings and DO NOT drive around the barricades put in place by law enforcement.
“This rain event has affected literally every roadway in the county as of today and driving around closed road signs or into high or fast moving water that you are unsure of is just too dangerous to consider. It puts not only your life at risk, but also our first responders,” Thompson urged. “As long as this continues, there is only so much that can be done. We’re simply trying to keep residents safe and away from dangerous areas until the weather clears up and we can see what work can be done. There are some bridges completely out, culverts that have given way to sinkholes and whole trees in the roads. It’s a huge undertaking and we just ask that residents remain patient with us as we begin the rebuilding process.”
The governor’s office, as well as Thompson’s office, would like to remind Texans 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.