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Texas Gov. Abbott signs emergency declaration after historic flooding in Dallas-Fort Worth area

Gov. Greg Abbott and Dallas Mayor Eric Johnson held a news conference to talk about the flooding and how victims can get help.

DALLAS — Gov. Greg Abbott signed a disaster declaration that includes Dallas, Tarrant, Kaufman and Ellis counties after Monday’s historic flooding.

“What happened yesterday is the second worst rainstorm and flooding in Dallas since 1932,” Abbott said.

Dallas Mayor Eric Johnson echoed his comments.

“We got hit pretty hard and we got hit in a historic way. The sky opened up and our streets closed down,” Johnson said.

The rain came fast and with force and flooded homes, cars, businesses, roads and freeways.

"The water came up right here a foot," said Maria Martinez, a flood victim.

Martinez said she has no flood insurance and like so many others has thousands of dollars in damage.

"It’s scary and everybody on this block is flooded out," said Martinez.

"I’ve heard this called a once-in-a-thousand-year weather event," said Mayor Johnson.

The City of Dallas alone responded to nearly 2,000 calls for service and lost 28 patrol squad cars.

"Losing 28 patrol vehicles is not positive but we'll do what we can even if it means doubling up officers in two-person patrols until help is on the way," said Dallas Police Chief Eddie Garcia.

Dallas-Fire Rescue lost four ambulances and four fire trucks at a time when they are having trouble replacing old vehicles.

"So having lost those pieces of equipment is going to have an impact," said Dallas-Fire Rescue executive assistant chief Bret Stidham.

In recent years the city has spent nearly a billion dollars on pumps and infrastructure to prevent flooding, but too much rain fell too fast.

"I don’t care what kind of system we had in place there was going to be flooding," Terry Lowery, director of Dallas Water Utilities.

Gov. Abbott encouraged flood victims to report their damages to the state in order for the area to be declared a federal disaster by FEMA that would allow those impacted to get more funds for repairs.

"Once again in order for the state and region to qualify for federal assistance the federal agencies need our damage assessments," said Abbott.

RELATED: North Texas flooding: How to report damage and tips for filing insurance claims

All across the region, including Fort Worth, some of the people most impacted were in lower economic neighborhoods. In Dallas, city officials say more rain fell in older neighborhoods with smaller infrastructure that caused more flooding.

Officials hope to have assessments done by the end of the week and hopefully get the ball rolling so flood victims can get some financial relief.

Abbott was asked if he thought the extreme weather conditions Texas has experienced in the last few years -- flooding, record heat, severe cold and drought -- is due to climate change. 

The governor wouldn’t say it was climate change but referred to the events as extreme weather. “We are constantly having conversations in what we categorize as extreme weather and we are dealing with more extreme weather patterns,” said Abbott.

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