OLYMPIA – Gov. Jay Inslee today was notified that the Trump administration approved his request for a major disaster declaration for 13 counties damaged by severe winter storms that hit the state Jan. 30 through Feb. 22.
“I thank the president for approving Washington’s request,” Inslee said. “The counties hit by these storms will benefit greatly from the federal government’s help to pay for cleanup and to repair damages.”
The declaration made the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s public assistance program available in Adams, Benton, Columbia, Franklin, Grant, Lewis, Lincoln, Pend Oreille, Skamania, Spokane, Wahkiakum, Walla Walla and Whatcom counties. Preliminary damage estimates from across the state from these storms total more than $27 million.
FEMA’s public assistance program provides grants of 75 percent for the eligible cost of emergency response and protective measures, debris removal and repairs to damaged infrastructure. The public assistance program is separate from the assistance program for individual property owners. FEMA also made available the Hazard Mitigation Grant Program to support projects that prevent or reduce long term risks to life and property from natural hazards.
Much of the damage identified in a joint state-FEMA preliminary damage assessment in late March was to roads. A freeze-thaw cycle caused significant damage to foundations, pavement and drainage systems to more than 750 local and state roadways. In addition, storms closed all three Cascade Mountain passes – Interstate 90 Snoqualmie Pass, US 2 Stevens Pass and US 12 White Pass – for multiple days, disrupting cross-state commercial trucking.