Houston County judge signs disaster declaration after months of heavy rain

Houston County judge signs disaster declaration after months of heavy rain

CROCKETT, TX (KTRE) - After months of heavy rain, Houston County Judge Erin Ford took steps to secure help for residents.

Ford said the county is in serious need of help from the damage caused by the rain. According to David Lamb with the Houston County Emergency Management office, The area has received 51 inches of rain so far this year.

"The average rain we get is 34 inches," Lamb said. "This is way above what we are used to seeing."

According to the Texas Department of Public Safety Website, the effects of declaring a disaster are economic stabilization, the ability to put in curfews, commandeering of facilities and equipment, controlling access to  certain geological areas, and suspension of selected codes and ordinances.

"This is the best thing I can think of doing right now," Ford said. "I could have done it on my own, but I wanted to have the commissioners involved as well to show we are all behind this."

During the emergency meeting, three of the four commissioners voiced concerns the have with the current state of roads in their areas.

"I don't know if my roads can ever be the same," Commissioner Pat Perry said. "I've lost that much."

"It just seems to be never ending," Commissioner Roger Dickey said. "The forecast doesn't know when this is going to end."

"They're not going to have rock until next Wednesday," Commissioner Kennon Kellum said. "I got places that need to be fixed that traffic can't get through."

The commissioners were also briefed on the extensive road damage that has been done.

"The other day I had six culverts that needed to be replaced," Kellum said. "I know have a lot more. You could have stories for days with all the ones we have now."

The rain has also forced the temporary closure of the Ratcliff Recreational area.

“Ratcliff Lake has witnessed unprecedented rainfall recently. This has resulted in soil saturation and toppling of trees. In the last 10 days, 15 large green healthy pine trees have fallen without warning in the camping and day use areas,” Ranger Gerald Lawrence said. “For the safety of our visitors, we are temporarily closing the recreation area.”

Judge Ford said he is also looking into funding from FEMA.

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