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Severe weather strikes Texas again

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(The Center Square) – Severe weather continues to plague Texans, from a tornado that hit the Houston area two weeks ago leaving nearly one million without electricity to a deadly tornado killing nearly two dozen people in rural north Texas over the weekend. Thunderstorms, tornado warnings, large hail, heavy rainfall and potential flooding events again hit Texas on Tuesday.

The National Weather Service issued a shelter-in-place order Tuesday to residents in Fort Worth, where 80 mph wind gusts and “baseball sized hail” was forecast.

The NWS also issued a severe thunderstorm warning for Houston and areas southeast to the Gulf with wind gusts of up to 70 mph. Severe thunderstorm warnings were issued for regions north and northeast of Houston as well as into the eastern hill country reaching through southwest Louisiana.

In the region between Dallas and Fort Worth, several hundred thousand people were without power on Tuesday morning as hail and gusty winds made their way through. NWS Fort Worth warned the storm would “contain wind gusts of 70 mph and golf ball sized hail!”

The severe weather continued two weeks after an EF-1 tornado hit Cypress, Texas, roughly 40 minutes northwest of Houston with winds of 100 mph. The straight-line winds ripped through power transmission lines, making their way southeast into downtown Houston, where several blocks are still off-limits to traffic after hundreds of skyscraper windows were blown out. The NWS also reported winds reached 90-100 mph in Baytown, just east of Houston.

Over the weekend, several hours north in Valley View, Texas, in Cooke County, residents were hit by a deadly tornado, killing seven.

Cooke County Commissioner Jason Snuggs told Fox Weather it would take “a year, minimum” to clean up the extensive damage caused by the tornado that destroyed nearly everything in its path.

Gov. Greg Abbott met with members of the Valley View community Sunday to mourn their loss and give an update on the state’s response to severe weather events.

“Texans across the state are saddened by the tragic loss of seven lives due to severe storms in North Texas,” he said. “We estimate that there are close to 100 people injured, more than 200 homes or structures destroyed, and more than 220 buildings damaged.”

Since then, those numbers have increased.

“It has been a harrowing week with lives lost, property reduced to rubble, and crushed hopes and dreams of those that owned homes or small businesses, but in true Texas fashion, Texans are responding to this great tragedy with love, care, and generosity,” he said. “We have seen heroism from first responders, volunteer fire departments, law enforcement, and those that may never be known. Amidst the wreckage surrounding us here today, I am moved by the sight of the American flag that remains flapping in the wind.”

Three weeks ago, Abbott expanded a state disaster declaration to include 88 counties impacted by severe weather and flooding, The Center Square reported. Earlier this month, more than 200 agencies responded to catastrophic storms and floods in southeast Texas that wiped out communities after evacuations were ordered in multiple counties, The Center Square reported.

Now, 106 counties are covered under the state’s severe weather disaster declaration, the governor’s office said Tuesday.

After the north Texas tornado event, residents in several counties are eligible for federal disaster assistance through the Federal Emergency Management Agency They include Calhoun, Cooke, Denton, Eastland, Guadalupe, Harden, Harris, Jasper, Jones, Lamar, Liberty, Montague, Montgomery, Polk, San Jacinto, Trinity, Walker, and Waller counties.

Texans can apply for FEMA disaster assistance at disasterassistance.gov or by calling 800-621-3362.

More than 25 counties have pending FEMA approvals.

FEMA’s individual assistance program funding assists with expenses like temporary housing, emergency home repairs, uninsured and underinsured personal property losses, disaster legal services, disaster unemployment assistance, a medical, dental, and funeral expenses caused by the disaster.

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