Governor Shumlin Requests Federal Disaster Declaration for Vermont Flooding
June 4, 2013 - MONTPELIER - Gov. Peter Shumlin today forwarded a request to President Barack Obama for a federal disaster declaration to help Vermont communities in Chittenden, Lamoille, and Essex Counties recover from wind damage and flooding from May 22-26.
“During the day and through the night of Thursday, May 23, 2013, ‘training’ thunderstorms moved into much of Vermont, dropping five to seven inches of rain in a matter of hours that caused flash flooding in streams and tributaries,” the Governor wrote the President. “The (resulting) flooding caused severe damage to roads, bridges, and homes, especially in the towns of Essex, Jericho, Underhill, Westford, Cambridge and Jeffersonville. In some cases, local roads remained closed for several days due to the severity of the impact. In total, approximately 30 separate road segments, of both state and local roads, were reported as closed.”
Preliminary Damage Assessment (PDA) teams from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) were summoned to Vermont following the storms to determine if the state met damage thresholds to qualify for a Public Assistance disaster declaration. The state needed show at least $1 million in damages to be considered for a Public Assistance disaster declaration. Individual counties had to show damages to roads, bridges, and other public property equaling or exceeding $3.45 per capita.
The partial assessment showed a minimum of $1.5 million in damages to the state, and the counties of Chittenden, Essex, and Lamoille reached the per capita targets. FEMA assessments do not include all damage suffered in an incident – auditors stop recording damage when thresholds are met.
“This assistance will help communities in the hardest hit areas of the state recover from the May storms, and I hope the President will approve it,” Gov. Shumlin said. He noted that damage to some roads and bridges was extensive, and federal aid will be important to repair and rebuilding efforts.
It will now be at the discretion of the President to approve or reject Vermont’s request. If approved, the federal government will pay 75 percent of the cost to repair public property like roads, bridges, culverts, and structures.