Record-breaking rainfall this week prompted Tarrant County Judge Glen Whitley to declare a state of disaster Tuesday afternoon, opening the possibility for federal aid to flow into the area.
The Dallas-Fort Worth Airport received 9.19 inches of rain in a 24-hour period, the second- highest precipitation total recorded in North Texas. The downpour came after a months-long drought in the region and the hottest July on record, which prompted officials to consider starting a drought contingency plan in late September.
“Yesterday wasn’t a normal situation,” Tarrant County Emergency Management Coordinator David McCurdy said.
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The county acted as a go-between for cities across the region, including Haltom City, which put in an emergency request for more boats to rescue stranded residents. Usually cities go through a stair-step approach, where they first ask neighboring communities, then the county, and then the state for assistance. Because of the time-sensitive nature of Monday’s flooding, Haltom City cut to the chase to get resources directly from the state.
“There were quite a few disasters floating around there, so to speak,” he said.
Whitley’s disaster declaration is the first step on a long path to accessing federal disaster funds. Gov. Greg Abbott signed a disaster declaration for 23 counties Tuesday, teeing up final approval by President Joe Biden. No federal funds will be available unless Biden approves the disaster declaration, and McCurdy said it’s hard to nail down a timeline on when that will be.
“FEMA is standing by ready to help the state respond to flooding,” FEMA Spokesperson Melissa Wilkins said.
Whitley is asking residents to submit all their damage claims online at damage.tdem.texas.gov where applicants can upload photos of the damage.
Tarrant County must have about $8.65 million in uninsured damages in order to qualify for a federal disaster declaration. Submitting a request does not guarantee disaster relief assistance.
“Assess what’s going on at your house, take good pictures and documentation, talk to your insurance agent,” McCurdy said.
Business owners can apply for loans through the U.S. Small Business Administration, following a declared disaster.
Local organizations are already mobilizing to provide assistance. The Fort Worth Report gathered a list of resources in Fort Worth and Tarrant County for residents affected by the flooding:
The North Texas Red Cross offers help in the immediate aftermath of a disaster.
“We’re here to simply help them through those first few days of a disaster,” Brian Murnahan, spokesman for the North Texas Red Cross, said. “Then we transition them off to the insurance company, to the state or the county to recover their livelihoods.”
The organization offers a hotline for residents that experienced damage from flooding. Residents can reach the 24-hour hotline at 1-800-733-2767.
The North Texas Red Cross is also hosting a shelter at the Everman Civic Center, 213 N Race St.
The Red Cross also offers information on recovering in the immediate aftermath of a natural disaster. You can access that information here.
After briefly closing Monday following flash flooding, the food bank is back to full operation. The food bank will host a series of events this week.
“We have a very active schedule,” Michael Polydoroff, a spokesman for the Tarrant Area Food Bank, said.
The organization will host:
- A mobile market from 6:30-8:30 p.m. Aug. 24 at the Mansfield ISD Center for Performing Arts, 1110 W Debbie Lane.
- A mobile market from 8-10 a.m. Aug. 27 at The MET Church, 11301 Old Denton Road.
United Way operates the Area Agency on Aging. United Way and its Disability Resource Center is staffed to connect older residents and their caregivers with support services. You may reach the disability resource center at 855-937-2372.
Veterans may reach out to the Texas Veterans Network at 844-4TX-VETS for support.
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