After a winter storm swept parts of Texas for four days and left hundreds of thousands without power, Gov. Greg Abbott issued a disaster declaration for seven counties impacted by the storm.
The declaration includes Denton, Hays, Milam, Smith, Travis and Williamson counties. The governor said in a statement that additional counties may be added to the declaration as officials complete damage assessments.
Major counties in the Dallas-Fort Worth area including Dallas, Tarrant and Collin are not included in the ice storm declaration.
“Through this disaster declaration, we will be able to provide additional assistance to Texans and communities who have experienced property damage and localized power outages from this ice storm,” Abbott said in a statement.
The declaration allows the state to exercise emergency powers in order to respond to a disaster.
In Dallas-Fort Worth, temperatures were at or below freezing for 89 consecutive hours from Sunday night to Thursday. Much of the North Texas region was under winter storm or ice storm warnings.
School districts were closed through Friday, slick roads created difficult driving conditions, public transportation experienced significant delays, airport cancellations piled up and even mail delivery was halted for some residents.
In Dallas-Fort Worth, as bridges and roads began to refreeze, at least four motorists died between Thursday night and Friday morning.
After a blistering week, temperatures across the Metroplex will continue to rise heading into Sunday with highs returning to the 60s and even lower 70s, according to the National Weather Service.
North Texas was mostly spared from power outages that crippled other parts of the state. On Thursday, more than 400,000 households were without electricity. The outages have largely been clustered in East and Central Texas.
As of Saturday evening, about 98,000 Texans are without electricity, according to poweroutage.us, which tracks nationwide outages. Austin Energy’s outage map showed about 60,000 customers were without power Saturday evening.
State and energy officials have said power outages were caused by falling tree limbs and downed icy power lines and not a failure of the energy grid.
Abbott has also urged Texans to report ice storm damage by using the Individual State of Texas Assessment Tool damage survey at damage.tdem.texas.gov.