Halloween flooding was once again the major topic of discussion at the Travis County Commissioners Court today. Various county officials and first responders reported to the commissioners on the progress of cleanup as well as estimated damage amounts. To date the damage in the region has been estimated at around $15 million, well short of the $35 million the state is required to show to receive federal aid for recovery. Beginning Thursday the County will begin its Public Damage Assessment which will raise the total amount of damage in dollars, though it is unclear if there will be enough to reach the $35 million threshold.
Presently, the county is following federal guidelines, moving primary homeowners to the front of the line for buy outs in case the county becomes eligible for federal assistance. According to county officials, the number of individuals applying for Travis County buyouts is 45, with an estimated $6.5 million in total claims presently. There is currently $2.4 million for buyouts, with the court looking for more funding to close the shortfall.
Other flood-related issues discussed today were the accuracy of flood plain maps, the response of county officials and flood early warning systems. Officials testifying in court today said that the flood plain maps, updated in 2008, were accurate about where the flooding would occur for the most part. The additional flood zones occurred within close proximity of the previously identified flood plains. It was reiterated today that the floods from Halloween were the worst seen in over 100 years. Moving forward the county will be investigating how to improve the flood early warning system through improvements in sensors.
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