President Joe Biden just issued an emergency declaration on Saturday in response to the extreme weather pummeling the state of Texas over the weekend and expected to continue into the coming week.
Governor Greg Abbott (R) requested the federal declaration in order to access additional funds to tackle the aftermath of the storm that has resulted in dozens of injuries and deaths statewide.
Biden’s response authorizes the mobilization of Federal Emergency Management Agency resources that provide mass care and sheltering and Direct Federal Assistance for all 254 counties in Texas.
According to a White House press release confirming the emergency declaration, “FEMA is authorized to identify, mobilize, and provide at its discretion, equipment and resources necessary to alleviate the impacts of the emergency. Emergency protective measures for mass care and sheltering and direct federal assistance will be provided at 75 percent federal funding.”
Abbott thanked Biden for his swift action authorizing the declaration, writing that “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.”
“This disaster declaration provides Texas with additional resources and assistance that will help our communities respond to this winter weather,” Abbott concluded.
Weathering the storm
The entire state of Texas is experiencing record-breaking temperatures and snowstorms resulting in dangerous driving conditions and an extreme strain on the state’s power grid.
Residents are being asked to avoid travel due to icy, low-visibility conditions that contributed to a deadly 133-car pile-up last week which resulted in at least 6 deaths and scores of dozens of injuries.
A surge in power use has induced a historic strain on the state’s power grid as the state plunges to record-breaking temperature lows, and energy authorities are urging residents to conserve power wherever possible.
CBS Dallas reported on Sunday that “all Texans are urged by the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT), which operates the state’s power grid, to conserve power use due to “record-breaking electric demand.'”
“Demand for power is expected to potentially exceed supply during parts of Monday and Tuesday,” Abbott added on Saturday. “We do as a state have the ability to ensure that we do not run out of power. To that, however, we need everybody in the state to pitch in and follow directions about ways we can reduce power usage to make sure that there will be no outage whatsoever.”
As of Monday morning, at least 2 million Texans were without power due to rolling blackouts as the icy weather continues to grip the state.