As a result of flooding during Memorial Day weekend, Travis County Judge Sarah Eckhardt signed a disaster declaration May 28 requesting help for residents and cities recovering from damage.
"We are seeing these kinds of extreme weather events more often, and whether it’s flooding or whether it’s wildfire, we’re going to need to be much more proactive about where we build, what we build and what we can reasonably expect to serve from an emergency standpoint," Eckhardt said. "These are going to be some important discussions for us to have and important planning to do."
Heavy rains on May 23 and 25 affected many Austin-area businesses and residents, with one fatality reported in Travis County. Emergency responders also conducted about 70 water rescues, according to a statement released by the county May 28. Considerable damage was sustained in downtown Austin as well as in the northeast area, Eckhardt said.
"We will seek assistance and reimbursement for the cleanup efforts—cleanup that is associated with health and human safety issues," Eckhardt said, noting flood debris is being placed in the right of way on some roads for county pickup, which is only done in emergencies. "We’ll also likely seek assistance for floodplain buyouts for homes that were constructed in flood-prone areas before we had the legal authority to prevent that kind of construction."
The declaration covers all incorporated cities in Travis County and allows municipalities, including the city of Austin, to apply for financial assistance at the state and federal level.
More information about flooding and emergency road closures in Central Texas is available at the Travis County website.