Texas Flooding and Storm Guide: How to Get Information and Assistance

Posted on 05/28/24 by Grace Dickinson

A series of severe storms ripped across Texas over the past month, causing widespread power outages and damage related to flooding, high winds and tornadoes. Several people were killed.

AARP has compiled a list of government, nonprofit and other resources that offer information or support to those impacted by the severe weather events. This list will be updated as more information becomes available.

If you need emergency assistance, call 911 immediately.

Federal funding and financial assistance

FEMA — disastersassistance.gov: On Saturday, May 18, the Federal Emergency Management Agency announced that federal disaster assistance is available to individuals affected by severe storms in seven southeast Texas counties: Harris, Liberty, Montgomery, Polk, San Jacinto, Trinity and Walker.

This designation makes funding available for various recovery efforts, including temporary housing and home repairs, low-interest loans to cover uninsured property losses, and other programs to help individuals and business owners who’ve sustained losses. To apply, register online at www.DisasterAssistance.gov, call 800-621-3362 or use the FEMA App.

SBA disaster assistance: The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) provides low-interest disaster loans to help businesses and homeowners recover from declared disasters. As a result of President Joe Biden’s May 18 major disaster declaration, those affected in Harris, Liberty, Montgomery, Polk, San Jacinto, Trinity and Walker counties may apply for an SBA loan. Businesses and private nonprofit organizations can borrow up to $2 million, and homeowners can borrow up to $500,000 to repair or replace damaged or destroyed real estate.

Home and flood insurance: Learn about home insurance and flood insurance, different types of coverage and what’s protected in the aftermath of a natural disaster with guides from the Texas Department of Insurance.

Reporting a power outage

Utility companies: Report any outages to your utility company. Find a list of contacts on the Public Utility Commission of Texas website. You can also use the Public Utility Commission’s power outage map to help find which company serves your area.

Live power outage tracking: Visit PowerOutage.us to track outages by county and electric provider.

Power outage safety tips: Find guides on what to do to protect yourself during a power outage and what to do to protect yourself from electrical hazards from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Emergency weather alerts and updates

Texas Division of Emergency Management (TDEM): Stay current with emergency and disaster updates on the TDEM website. You can also report storm damage to assist emergency management officials in the disaster assessment process.

National Weather Service (NWS) alerts: Follow local weather alerts on the NWS online alert site.

NWS reports (weather.gov): Enter your ZIP code to find weather forecasts in your area.

NWS river levels (water.weather.gov): Find flooding observations and forecasts across Texas.

NOAA Weather Radio: Listen to radio stations from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) for information on current and incoming weather in your area.Local news outlets: Closely monitor local TV and radio stations for up-to-date information and instructions from emergency personnel.

Where to call for nonemergency help

211: For assistance with a variety of nonemergency, disaster-related needs, such as shelter and food, dial 211 or 877-541-7905. You can also visit 211texas.org to sign up to receive automatic SMS text notifications about available disaster resources.

711 Relay Texas: Relay Texas is a free, 24/7 service that provides telephone access for people with speech or hearing loss. Dial 711 to reach a relay operator who will help facilitate conversation.

311: Many cities across Texas offer 311 as a service you can call to ask questions, get help with non-life-threatening issues or report hazardous debris, inoperative traffic signals or downed trees in your area.

Road conditions and transportation updates

Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT): Visit drivetexas.org or call 800-452-9292 for the latest on road closures and conditions in your area. Road conditions and traffic updates are also available on TxDot’s Facebook page and X (formerly known as Twitter).

Where to find shelter and food assistance after a disaster

Housing help: The American Red Cross offers free shelter to those affected by disaster situations. Use the nonprofit’s online map to find open shelters near you, or call 800-RED-CROSS.

211 Texas: Dial 211 or go online to 211 Texas to be connected to resources for emergency food and shelter.

Texas Food Banks: Find a statewide list of food banks from the Texas Department of Agriculture, or enter your ZIP code at the Feeding America website to find food resources near you.

Flood and emergency disaster safety tips

TexasReady.gov: Find resources from the Texas Department of State Health Services on how to prepare before a natural disaster strikes.

Check your drinking water: The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality offers a post-flood guide to help determine if your water is safe to drink.

How to manage debris: The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality offers resources for those dealing with debris in the aftermath of a severe weather event.

Recovery Toolkit for Individuals With Disabilities: Find disaster assistance specifically for individuals with disabilities, maintained by the Center on Disability and Development at Texas A&M University.

American Red Cross Disaster Relief guide: Learn about steps you can take to ensure your safety during and after a disaster or emergency situation. The American Red Cross covers topics ranging from hurricanes to flooding to highway safety.

Flood safety: Get tips on what to do before, during and after a flood from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency offers advice on DIY cleanup and protecting your health.


Open pharmacies: Visit RxOpen.org to find open pharmacies in areas impacted by disasters.

Mental health resources

Disaster Distress Helpline: Anyone experiencing mental health distress as a result of a disaster may call or text 800-985-5990 to receive immediate, free and confidential counseling from trained professionals from the federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. Services are available in multiple languages.

988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline: 988 is a free and confidential helpline for people in distress. Anyone needing crisis support can call or text the number, or chat online via the web page.

Grace Dickinson is a writer for aarp.org who covers federal and state policy. She previously wrote for The Philadelphia Inquirer. Her work has also appeared on sites including HuffPost and Eater.

AARP resources

This story is provided by AARP Texas. Visit the AARP Texas page for more news, events, and programs affecting retirement, health care, and more.

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