Texans whose property was damaged during this week’s winter storm might soon be able to apply for disaster aid through FEMA, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott announced on Friday.
Abbott asked President Joe Biden to declare a major disaster, which would open the door for Texans to apply for aid, much like they would after a hurricane or flood.
Biden was expected to sign the order but hadn’t done so by Friday afternoon.
Soon after Abbott’s announcement, a group of 18 U.S. Representatives from Texas urged Biden to approve the disaster declaration. Early estimates of the damage wrought by the storm already were at $27 million, they said. The final tally is expected to be much higher.
“Our home state has been battered by unprecedented winter weather that has affected all 254 counties in Texas, overwhelmed the power grid and crippled our roadways,” the letter stated. “The historic impacts of winter precipitation and Arctic temperatures have left millions of Texans without power, potable water and have strained the supply chain for food and other necessities.”
U.S. Rep. Randy Weber, of Friendswood, was among the group to ask for a quick approval.
Other forms of federal aid began to reach Texas and Galveston County on Friday, including the arrival of two military transport planes carrying dozens of pallets of water to Scholes International Airport in Galveston. State officials said the air delivery was coordinated using state and federal resources.
The White House also announced it had been in touch with Galveston Mayor Craig Brown and other municipal and county leaders around the state to offer aid for immediate needs, including water.