Tornadoes, snow, ice and rain ravaged the State of Texas over the last 48 hours.
Saturday night, tornadoes in the Dallas area killed 11 people and injured dozens. At least 600 structures were damaged by the storms.
Governor Greg Abbott addressed those hit the hardest and promised there will be help on the state and federal level.
“We pray and support those that have lost a family member. We pray and support those who have had their homes destroyed and their lives turned upside down,” Abbott said.
Abbott made a declaration of disaster for Collin County, Dallas County, Ellis County and Rockwell County. He said more areas may be included depending on search and rescue efforts across the state.
“I want you to know that Texas is doing everything we can to help you piece your lives back together, to help you better deal with the challenges that you are facing right now,” said Abbott.
The Texas Department of Public Safety, Texas Task Force One and Two, FEMA, the National Guard and the State Guard are all helping with recovery efforts in the hardest hit areas.
“At this stage, our key focus is first; rescue and recovery, second; aiding and assisting those who need to get to shelter, third; is helping families and communities rebuild from the challenges they have faced,” Abbott said.
In West Texas and the Panhandle, snow, ice, freezing temperatures and power outages are creating problems for many families. East Texas can expect additional rain and possible tornadoes Sunday.
“Most immediately, however, in the next 24 hours there is something that we are asking of citizens across the state of Texas. We need you to remain vigilant. We need you to listen to local authorities’ warnings about action you may need to take,” said Abbott.
The governor said it is possible that up to a dozen tornadoes touched down in the Lone Star State over the last 24 hours.
A tornado in Garland was declared a Category 4, the one in Rowlett a Category 3, leaving behind a trail of destruction that stretches about 40 miles through the Metroplex area.
“The Texas DPS has already been responsive to and will remain responsive to any concerns or issues raised about potential looting because of damage inflicted by the tornadoes. And we will work collaboratively with local law enforcement to make sure we do all we can to prevent any type of looting from occurring,” Abbott said.
Abbott said anyone in need of shelter or hoping to help those affected by the storms should contact the Red Cross.
“There are also, across the entire state of Texas, shelters for those who need a place to stay, whether it's because your home has been flattened or you are traveling across the state of Texas. The hotels and motels may be filled and you need a place to stay for the night,” said Abbott.
In the meantime, the governor is asking travelers north of I-10 to stay off the roads if possible. That will allow authorities to complete search and rescue missions, render aid to those who need it and start to rebuild communities flattened by the storms.
Dallas authorities said there are still a lot of people unaccounted for. The governor hopes to get a better count of how many people are in need of shelter Sunday night from the Red Cross.