Snyder requests federal flood damage funding


Ralph Ansami/Daily Globe

SANDBAGS ARE placed surrounding Silver Street businesses in preparation for flooding of the Montreal River in May. The Ironwood-Hurley Silver Street bridge was closed for a few days because of the high water.

LANSING — Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder on Friday requested President Barack Obama declare a major disaster for the state as a result of severe flooding that occurred in 16 counties, including Gogebic and Ontonagon, from April 16 to May 14.

Gogebic County officials estimated damages across the county at around $2.6 million, with most of the costs related to road repairs.

Gogebic County Emergency Management Director James Loeper told the Ironwood City Commission at its last meeting that the statewide damages appeared to be around $13.7 million.

Loeper said two private residences in Ironwood along the Montreal River were damaged, but flooding wasn’t as bad as in 2002.

The city of Wakefield was hit hard again this spring and Loeper said there was damage all the way from Ironwood to Watersmeet.

Gogebic County Road Commission Engineer Darren Pionk told the county board the damage to roadways included numerous wash-outs, including one at Little Girl’s Point that may require a bridge to be constructed.

Loeper cautioned it will be a slow process before the county is reimbursed for flood-related expenses.

Other affected counties are Allegan, Barry, Baraga, Houghton, Ionia, Kent, Keweenaw, Marquette, Midland, Muskegon, Newaygo, Osceola, Ottawa and Saginaw.

Snyder requested supplementary federal aid in the form of public assistance to help cover some costs incurred by state and local governments in damage to public facilities and infrastructures. The request does not include assistance for individuals or businesses.

“I commend our first responders and volunteer organizations for acting quickly to ensure the safety of citizens affected by this flooding event,” Snyder said. “I am requesting federal assistance to make available additional resources to further help our communities recover from the flooding that impacted much of the state.”

Five federal preliminary damage assessment teams verified and reviewed the most severely damaged homes, businesses, public facilities and infrastructures in the state. The teams conducted their assessments from May 9-22. State officials assessed the PDA results and determined that the extent of damages may reach the level for receiving federal assistance.

Snyder’s request will be reviewed by the Federal Emergency Management Agency, which will advise the president whether a disaster or emergency declaration should be granted.

If approved, the SBA disaster assistance program will provide low-interest disaster loans for uninsured losses incurred by homeowners, renters, businesses and nonprofit organizations to repair or replace real estate, personal property, machinery and equipment, inventory and business assets that were damaged or destroyed.

Snyder declared a state of disaster on May 7, making available state resources to help address any remaining threats to public health and safety.


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