Gov. Jay Inslee this afternoon proclaimed a state of emergency in nine counties to facilitate debris removal and emergency repairs to state and local roadways impacted by a severe winter storm from Jan. 4 through 6.
The proclamation allows the Washington State Department of Transportation to seek emergency relief funds from the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Highways Administration to help pay for repairs. Already, U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx has authorized the FHWA to release $500,000 in quick relief funds to assist in the recovery.
The storm caused at least $3 million in damage and debris removal costs (a preliminary estimate likely to grow), and requires continued limited access or closure on a number of routes. Several state and local roadways were damaged and/or covered in debris because of the storm. Assessment of damage to transportation and other public infrastructure is ongoing.
The governor noted in his proclamation that heavy rain and unseasonable snowmelt from this week’s storm combined with soils saturated by previous storms to cause slope erosion and landslides that impacted state and local roadways.
The proclamation also directs state agencies to implement the state’s emergency management plan and do everything reasonably possible to help political subdivisions respond to and recover from the event.
The emergency proclamation covers Grays Harbor, King, Kittitas, Lewis, Pacific, Pierce, Skagit, Wahkiakum, and Whatcom counties.