Bud Kennedy

Be honest: Every now and then, Texas needs federal help

Andrea Jones helps remove a downed tree on River Road, Monday, May 25, 2015, in Wimberley, Texas. Around a dozen people were reported missing in flash flooding from a line of storms that stretched from the Gulf of Mexico to the Great Lakes.
Andrea Jones helps remove a downed tree on River Road, Monday, May 25, 2015, in Wimberley, Texas. Around a dozen people were reported missing in flash flooding from a line of storms that stretched from the Gulf of Mexico to the Great Lakes. AP

Only two weeks ago, Texans stood to “Pray for Van.”

On Monday, a somber Memorial Day, we stared in disbelief at flood photos and agreed to “Help Hays” County.

Then overnight rains turned southwest Houston into a giant bayou. And tornadoes were stirring again Tuesday.

This is when Texas nationalists and secessionists really look foolish.

With 46 counties now declared disaster areas by Gov. Greg Abbott and no end in sight until summer, Texas welcomes federal officials and disaster relief.

Texas Task Force 1 and soldiers and pilots of the Texas Military Forces — the National Guard units and Texas State Guard — have worked round-the-clock to save motorists in Krum, lift away flood victims in Cleburne and search for the missing in Wimberley.

But if anyone needs convincing, this reminds us Texas can’t go it alone.

Federal disaster officials have inspected damage in Navarro and Van Zandt counties and await results from other counties before any eventual state application for help, a spokeswoman for Federal Emergency Management Agency Region IV said Tuesday.

State officials from a dozen agencies are still working to find the missing and clean up the mess. But once the dollar assessments begin, this kind of widespread destruction of roads, bridges, dams and homes would seem to fit the definition for federal disaster relief.

Texas would remain in charge, FEMA spokeswoman Stephanie Moffett said by phone from the regional office in Denton.

“The state and the governor drive this process — we’re only here to provide support,” she said.

Any guesses about federal disaster relief are “too early,” she said.

One caution: We won’t hear back right away. The request isn’t complete until the last spring storms.

By the way, FEMA warned us May 13 about potential flooding and the forecast for more.

Sometimes it actually helps to pay attention to Washington.

Bud Kennedy’s column appears Sundays, Wednesdays and Fridays. 817-390-7538

Twitter: @BudKennedy

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