Gov. Inslee requests federal disaster assistance for fall rain, windstorm

January 8, 2016

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OLYMPIA— Gov. Jay Inslee today asked President Obama to approve his request for a Major Disaster Declaration to provide much needed federal assistance to help local jurisdictions recovering from a November storm that brought high winds, flooding and landslides. The storm resulted in more than $21 million in damages to help remove debris and repair roads and other public infrastructure.

In his letter to Obama, the governor asked for public assistance to help defray some costs associated with the storm in the following 31 counties: Adams, Benton, Chelan, Clallam, Columbia, Cowlitz, Franklin, Garfield, Grant, Grays Harbor, Island, Jefferson, King, Kitsap, Kittitas, Lewis, Lincoln, Mason, Pacific, Pend Oreille, Pierce, Skagit, Skamania, Snohomish, Spokane, Stevens, Thurston, Wahkiakum, Whatcom, Whitman, and Yakima.

“This storm brought significant damage statewide,” Inslee said. “Powerful winds knocked out utility services to hundreds of thousands of customers. Heavy rain washed out local roads and state highways. And downed trees and powerlines caused damage to several buildings and other public infrastructure. I’m hopeful our federal partners will assist and provide much needed help to those counties that exhausted all resources to recover from this event.”

Heavy amounts of rain fell across Washington state from November 12th through the 21st. The system resulted in pulses of rain and produced a powerful wind storm on November 17th. Heavy rainfall amounts exceeded 15 inches in parts of the Olympic and Cascade Mountains, and ranged from three to 15 inches in the lowlands of western Washington. Six rivers exceeded their banks, resulting in major flooding. At least 522,000 utility customers in Washington state lost power at some point during the disaster resulting in excess of one million people affected by outages.

If public assistance is approved, the Federal Emergency Management Agency grant program will defray 75 percent of the eligible costs of the emergency response, debris removal and permanent repairs to roads, bridges, public utilities and other public infrastructure.

In addition, the governor asked that the Hazard Mitigation Grant Program be made available statewide. The program provides funds for community planning and projects designed to limit or prevent future disaster damage.

Media Contact 

Jaime Smith
Governor Inslee’s Communications Office
360.902.4136

Karina Shagren
Washington Military Department
253.442.4765