Harris County will be on the receiving end of more than $10.7 million in federal funding for debris removal after severe storms hit the area in April and May.

According to a news release, the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s public assistance funds will reimburse the county for costs related to:

  • Removing more than 1 million cubic yards of vegetative debris
  • Removing more than 127,000 cubic yards of construction and demolition debris from roadways and public rights of way

For reference, 1 cubic yard covers approximately 160 square feet or the size of a modern tiny home, according to estimates by Cummin Landscape Supply, an Atlanta-based landscaping company.

Digging deeper

FEMA already approved more than $155.5 million in federal funding toward individual and households disaster survivors who applied for assistance, according to July 3 numbers on the agency's disaster declaration report.

A total of 70,208 individual assistance applications have also been approved by July—marking an additional 46,718 applications compared to the FEMA numbers at the end of May.

The background

On May 2, areas north of Lake Conroe received up to 15 inches of rain overnight, according to the Montgomery County Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Management.

The San Jacinto River Authority announced the amount of water being released from Lake Conroe on May 2 nearly tripled to 30,045 cubic feet per second as lake levels sat at 203.3 feet. For comparison, the normal max level of Lake Conroe is 201 feet. Flash flooding also occurred in Montgomery County and parts of Harris County, while school districts across the north Houston area canceled after-school activities and announced closures on May 3.

On May 16, severe thunderstorms hit the Houston area with wind gusts up to 80 mph. The winds pummeled downtown Houston and left some building windows broken, with glass and trees scattered across the streets. By May 17, President Joe Biden approved a disaster declaration for Texas, according to a news release.

On May 21, FEMA Administrator Deanne Criswell visited Texas while debris recovery efforts were underway throughout Harris and Montgomery counties.