AUSTIN – Update:
Governor Greg Abbott announced Sunday that the White House has granted a Federal Emergency Declaration for Texas in response to the severe winter weather throughout the state.
According to the governor’s office, the declaration authorizes the Federal Emergency Management Agency to provide emergency protective measures for mass care and “sheltering and Direct Federal Assistance for all 254 counties in Texas.”
“I thank President Biden for quickly issuing a Federal Emergency Declaration for Texas as we continue to respond to severe winter weather conditions throughout the state,” Abbott said in a statement to KSAT. “This disaster declaration provides Texas with additional resources and assistance that will help our communities respond to this winter weather.”
This comes after Gov. Abbott held a press briefing Saturday, saying he was filing a request for the federal aid just one day before the winter weather set in Central and South Texas.
According to a statement by President Joseph Biden, “FEMA is authorized to identify, mobilize, and provide at its discretion, equipment and resources necessary to alleviate the impacts of the emergency.”
Additionally, emergency protective measures for mass care and sheltering and direct federal assistance will be provided at “75% federal funding.”
Gov. Greg Abbott is asking for a federal emergency declaration from the federal government as the state begins to combat severe winter weather that has set in this weekend across Texas.
The declaration will provide more resources and assistance at the federal level for the state during the expected deep freeze.
The governor announced the declaration at a press conference at 3 p.m. on Saturday, at the Alternate State Operations Center in Austin.
Most of Texas will be getting snow or ice from Saturday until Tuesday, according to Gov. Abbott, and some snow accumulations will make travel difficult or impossible.
As of Saturday afternoon, the governor said there are already more than 1,000 roadway segments that have ice on them statewide, and the worst part of the winter storm hasn’t hit yet.
There have already been 745 snow plows activated statewide and pre-treatment on the roadways has already been in effect, as of Tuesday, according to Abbott.
However, these road treatments are limited due to the ultra-low temperatures, Abbott said. Many roads will still be “extremely dangerous and treacherous” to drive on, the governor added.
Road closures during the winter storm will be up to either local law enforcement or local officials.
“These conditions are so unprecedented... there will be so many people who have never driven on ice before. And it can be one of the most hazardous things you can do,” Abbott said.
If you do get stranded in your vehicle, Abbott reminds drivers to call for assistance immediately. The number for assistance is 1-800-525-5555, it’s printed on the back of your Texas driver’s license.
The Department of Public Safety has already responded to 1,000 crashes and counting, and these accidents have resulted in 10 fatalities since Thursday, according to Abbott.
The governor is urging residents all across the state to stay off the roadways over the course of the next few days, out of precaution.
For assistance across the state, Abbott says there are 3,000 troopers deployed, the National Guard is assisting the Department of Public Safety and other state agencies to help stranded travelers and they will conduct welfare checks in remote areas.
The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department has also deployed over 400 vehicles to help stranded drivers as well, and have search and rescue teams at hand, according to the governor.
“This is going to be a very challenging time for Texas. But it’s a challenge we know our fellow Texans are up to,” Abbott said.
You can watch the full briefing in the video player above.
As always, Your Weather Authority team will keep you updated. You can get the very latest forecast and check out the interactive radar anytime by bookmarking our weather page and downloading the KSAT Weather Authority App - available for both Apple and Android devices.