The remnants of what was Tropical Storm Bill are now churning into Oklahoma and Arkansas. This weather event signals a big change in the type of natural disaster the state has had to prepare for. That change could have major financial implications for the state.
Video images streaming into the state EOC Wednesday morning continued to be monitored by a large team of emergency coordinators. Tropical Storm Bill made landfall Tuesday near Port Lavaca and as it slowly spun north toward the red river, state EMA Director Chief Nim Kidd said he was not ready to throttle things back.
"I still think we have another two days worth of this," said Chief Kidd.
That warning was the focus of the mid morning briefing given to Governor Greg Abbott. A warning the Governor later shared when he spoke to the media.
"The message is, this event is not over, there will be a lot of rainfall that could still come, there could be some potential tornados," said Governor Abbott.
Governor Abbott went on to say he is pleased with how the state prepared and then responded to the tropical storm.
"This is not our first Rodeo, Texas has been down this pathway before and we will be prepared."
Before this wet weather pattern arrived, state officials were actually more focused on the fire threat. The Bastrop Complex Fire, in 2011, set the tone. It caused more than $300-million in damage and is considered to be the most destructive fire in state history. As part of the recovery effort - state lawmakers made several emergency expenditures. A busy hurricane season could force state lawmakers to make similar adjustments in the budget that was approved last month.
"We do have flexibility at the legislative level, through the Legislative Budget Board, to allocate contingency funds, I think we are in good shape financially, if it got so bad that we had to have a Special Session, for example, there is money in the Rainy Day Fund, that could handle some of these issues as well, but I dont anticipate that being a problem," said State Rep. Tony Dale ( R ) Cedar Park.
That doesn't mean its not going to be costly. The preliminary damage assessment just in from TX DOT since the floods in May is currently around $30-million. The current budget of the Rainy Day Fund is at $8.5 billion.