By Matthew Hamill
Assistant News Director
Early Monday afternoon Governor Greg Abbott was flown over the Blanco River to see the damage caused by flooding over the weekend. Due to the level of devastation, he announced that Hays, Caldwell, Bastrop and other counties across Texas are in a state of emergency.
“This is known as … in multiple parts of the state as the flood of record, meaning this is the highest flood we’ve ever had in recorded history of the state of Texas,” Abbott said.
Abbott’s tour over the Blanco River gave him a bird’s eye view of the devastation.
It sends a powerful message to anyone who is in harm’s way over the state of Texas over the next coming days as we see the ongoing rain, and that is the relentless tsunami type power that this wave of water can pose for people.
The Hays County flood demonstrated that water levels can rise very rapidly. Abbott said although citizens may think they
can escape floods, all too often they cannot unless they do so well in advance.
Abbott added that he was impressed with the level of response from local officials, giving praise to their work which saved lives “because of the massive, coordinated, relentless way that they have responded to the challenges the people of Hays County have faced.”
The Texas Division of Emergency Management Chief Nim Kidd listed the Government Agencies contributing to the flood response.
With Texas military forces, Texas Task Force 1, Parks and Wildlife, Texas Department of Public Safety [and] Texas Department of State and Health Services, there are literally hundreds of first responders that work for the state’s agencies as well that are going out and supporting.
The Governor also issued a warning to Texas counties along the Blanco River basin all the way to the Gulf of Mexico, saying that what happened in Hays County could affect other counties downstream.
“These river basins all the way down to the Gulf of Mexico are going to be facing challenging consequences as a result of this ongoing rain,” Abbott said. He added, “be prepared to deal with the challenges that are going to be posed by river banks overflowing.
Abbott urged city and local officials to get in front of what is going on, and alert their citizens of any and all hazards and dangers heading their way. The Governor added that all citizens should get out of harm’s way, and heed all evacuation warnings saying that the devastation witnessed is a reminder to heed such warnings.
One thing the Governor was pleased with was the care and concern citizens of Texas show for each other; how towns and communities join together in crisis to help neighbors and families.
I want to say thank you to the hospitality, the friendship and support that is shown to our fellow Texans… to those who are in need, to those whose homes have been completely wiped of the map.
Before opening the floor to questions, the Governor took time to recognize Memorial Day, saying, “We know even though we are facing challenges here in Hays County, we have the freedom and ability to even encounter these challenges because of the men and women who died for freedom in this country, who we honor today on this Memorial Day.”
The Governor spoke to the press as rain battered the Wimberley Community Center. In the next room, flood victims gathered to coordinate the search for loved ones. As more volunteers and first responders work, it continues to rain in central Texas.