Obama Administration approves public assistance for 10 counties for December wind and rain storms

February 2, 2016

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Gov. Jay Inslee today thanked President Obama for quickly approving a second major disaster declaration request in two months, this time in connection with a December storm that brought heavy rains, flooding, landslides, strong winds, as well as a tornado in Clark County. 

"Once again, I thank the Obama Administration for its quick response and support for a second disaster declaration in a month due to the damaging effects of another winter storm," Inslee said.  "This storm caused damages in excess of $19 million. As I said before, our budgets are stretched very thin. This assistance will help our communities make repairs and resume important services that Washingtonians rely on."

The declaration makes available the Federal Emergency Management Agency's Public Assistance program for 10 counties. The program provides federal funds to pay for up to 75 percent of the costs of eligible debris removal, emergency protective measures, and the repair or replacement of disaster-damaged facilities and public infrastructure for eligible local, state and tribal governments, as well as certain private nonprofit organizations.

The counties that are eligible for the assistance include: Clallam, Clark, Cowlitz, Grays Harbor, Jefferson, Lewis, Mason, Pacific, Skamania and Wahkiakum. The disaster declaration also provides grants for hazard mitigation efforts statewide.

The declaration covers damage that occurred between Dec. 1-14, when heavy rainfall exceeded 20 inches in parts of the Olympic Mountains and as much as 10 inches in lowland areas. Runoff resulted in rivers exceeding flood stage on more than two dozen rivers across the state, while landslides made dozens of roads impassable, including a portion of Interstate 5 in Cowlitz County. The storm also is responsible for producing an EF1 tornado in Clark County, which damaged 36 homes and two commercial buildings.

Last week, the Small Business Administration made its low-interest disaster loan programs available in Cowlitz County after receiving a request for assistance from the governor on Jan. 21. The SBA also made the loan programs available in adjacent counties of Clark, Lewis, Skamania and Wahkiakum. SBA loan officers began outreach efforts in Cowlitz County today.

SBA disaster loans are available to businesses, private non-profit organizations, homeowners and renters whose property was damaged or destroyed by the December storm.

Media Contact 

Karina Shagren
Washington Military Department 
253.442.4765