Governor Greg Abbott has added 36 counties to his state disaster declaration in response to widespread flooding in Texas. That's in addition to the 18 counties already included earlier this week.
“There's already been hundreds of thousands of Texans already seriously impacted by the rains and flooding here in Central Texas,” said Abbott.
The governor worries there could be more, depending on weather events this weekend.
“We anticipate river flooding to the moderate and major flood stage with big concerns on the Guadalupe, Llano, Colorado, Nueces, Brazos, as well as points on the Trinity, downstream from the Dallas area, in the coming days,” Abbott said.
Abbott said there are already hundreds of National Guardsmen, Department of Public Safety officers, Game Wardens and Lower Colorado River Authority rangers responding to flooding events in Texas. He expects them to re-arrange as new flooding occurs, but doesn't want people in harm's way to wait for first responders to save them.
“If you live along or near a river or waterway that could be the subject of coming flooding, prepare for evacuation now,” said Abbott.
Abbott said even areas that don't see significant rainfall may be subject to flooding because of all the water heading downstream. Specifically, he points to counties in South Texas near the Gulf Coast.
“You need to expect flooding to continue for perhaps another week,” Abbott said.
FEMA is already working with the governor's office to help affected homeowners and Abbott said it's possible more resources are on the way.
“We are currently working with federal authorities to determine whether or not this will be a federally declared disaster,” said Abbott.
When it comes to the potential for quickly rising water, Abbott gave this advice, “We must always emphasize that you have the ability to save your own life. The primary way you can do that is, first, if you're driving, turn around don't drown. Second, be alert, be aware and be in communication with your local officials and authorities.”
Counties included in the state disaster declaration include: Bastrop, Burnet, Colorado, Fayette, Hood, Jim Wells, Kerr, Kimble, La Salle, Live Oak, Llano, Mason, McMullen, Nueces, Real, San Patricio, Travis, Williamson, Bandera, Baylor, Blanco, Brown, Callahan, Cameron, Coleman, Comanche, Eastland, Edwards, Erath, Gillespie, Hamilton, Haskell, Hidalgo, Jones, Kendall, Kinney, Lampasas, Liberty, Madison, Mills, Nolan, Palo Pinto, Parker, San Jacinto, San Saba, Shackelford, Somervell, Stephens, Taylor, Throckmorton, Uvalde, Walker, Willacy, and Zavala.