Office of the Governor Rick Perry

Gov. Perry Issues Disaster Declaration for 40 Texas Counties

*Note - Gov. Perry frequently departs from prepared remarks.
Thursday, September 09, 2010  •  Belton, Texas  •  Speech

Thank you, Judge Jon Burrows and thank you all for being here.

Late yesterday, Tropical Storm Hermine crossed the Texas border into Oklahoma leaving in its wake some serious flooding and tornado damage in Dallas.

Today, I will issue a disaster proclamation for 40 Texas counties including Bell County that have been particular hard-hit by this storm.

Hermine's legacy includes damaged businesses Texans residing in shelters and many families sorting through what's left of their homes.

Thanks to the heroic actions of our state and local first responders working in concert with our Division of Emergency Management multiple rescue operations were completed and many lives saved.

As the prospect of those search and rescue operations took shape I activated a number of resources, including Texas National Guard personnel and assets including ten high profile vehicles and two UH-60 Blackhawks.

In addition, numerous state agencies including the Texas Department of Public Safety TXDoT Parks and Wildlife and numerous volunteer organizations have worked ‘round the clock to support their local partners who have been dealing with the impact of the storm.

As usual, our emergency response community answered the call and performed with distinction.

Hermine hit the folks here in Bell County especially hard both in terms of rainfall and its impact on local waterways.

I just concluded an aerial survey of the area along with Nim Kidd our state's director of emergency management who has done a fine job overseeing this effort and Judge Burrows. As you may know, county judges play an essential role in our state's emergency management efforts providing leadership to their county's first responders and a line of communication to local authorities.

As we surveyed the damage from that Department of Public Safety helicopter we saw serious flood damage in several locations.

Although the rain has subsided, the water levels in our state's creeks and rivers remain high so the danger to our citizens continues especially near low-water crossings.

It is of vital importance that all Texans to realize the dangers of crossing flooded roadways and respect the barricades officials put in place to protect the precious lives of our citizens.

No matter how much you trust your truck, how big a hurry you're in or how much you trust your driving DO NOT go around barriers to cross flooded roads.

Remember these words, TURN AROUND, DON'T DROWN.

In the days to come, the businesses and families affected by the storm and its flooding will work to pick up the pieces of their lives and move forward like Texans always do.

Our prayers are with them, as they are with the families who lost loved ones in the raging waters.

One life lost is one too many, but we are grateful to our brave first responders who risked their own lives to ensure the toll wasn't even higher.

If experience tells us anything, more storms will come but Texas will be ready because we look out for our own.

Now we'd be happy to take questions from our friends in the working press here today.

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