Greg Abbott, the 48th governor of Texas, returned to his hometown of Wichita Falls Monday (yesterday) and declared it in a state of disaster so the area can receive additional resources to counter the devastation wreaked by the unexpected flooding. Abbott, who swept into office by virtue of a dominating victory in the governor’s election last November, has recently completed his first 100 days in office.
The governor’s decisive action came in the wake of floods which the Weather Channel’s Jim Cantore called the most serious weather event in the nation last Wednesday. While the torrential rains have been welcomed for ending a four-year drought here, residents are now hoping it won’t turn into a biblical 40-day and 40-night flood reminiscent of the Old Testament.
Abbott met with Wichita County Judge Woody Gossom and Wichita Falls Mayor Glen Barham at the Wichita Falls Public Safety Training Center Monday. After viewing the Wichita Falls area floodwaters, the former Texas Attorney General commended Wichita Falls law enforcement and other public officials for the remarkable job they have done in preventing loss of life.
Abbott had an extraordinary run as the state’s top law enforcement officer when he served three terms as Attorney General for the Lone Star State. He orchestrated the prosecution of FLDS leader Warren Jeffs for sexually assaulting underage girls. His experience gained as AG also makes him uniquely qualified to deal with disasters such as the one Wichita Falls and many other cities in the state have endured in recent days.
Abbott on Monday described the flash flooding which occurred across the state killing three people as a “relentless wall of water that mowed down huge trees like they were grass.” He further declared states of disaster in 24 counties, according to the Huffington Post.
He also flew over the area south of Austin to assess damage caused by tornadoes, heavy rainfall, thunderstorms and flooding that forced evacuations and rooftop rescues and left thousands of residents without electrical power.
He also described homes “that were completely wiped off the map” by the dangerous weather system that struck Texas and Oklahoma. Tragedy struck in the Dallas area as the bodies of a 14-year old boy and his dog were found in a storm drain on Monday in DeSoto.
After holding a press conference in Wichita Falls, Gov. Abbott traveled to Wimberley, which was another area hard hit by storms, according to NBC Dallas affiliate Channel 5. The University of Texas graduate said, “The State of Texas has taken brisk action in dispatching all available resources to aid those affectedd by this severe weather system, and I stronly urge all Texans to exercise every possible precaution to ensure their safety and the safety of their families and neighbors.”
Any additional rainfall will exacerbate already saturated grounds in not only Wichita Falls, but the rest of Texas. This could lead to flash flooding. Abbott encouraged people to monitor weather conditions in the days ahead.