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Governor Gregoire Announces Federal Aid Available for Storm Damaged Counties

For Immediate Release: May 18, 2006

OLYMPIA – Governor Chris Gregoire today announced that President Bush has issued a federal disaster declaration for parts of Washington that were hard hit by winter storms in January and February. The federal declaration makes federal disaster aid available for winter storm damage to public facilities such as county roads, public water systems and public utility systems in eleven Washington counties.

“This declaration will help our counties and cities repair damages to critical public facilities and pay for emergency work, such as debris removal,” said Governor Gregoire. “The cost of recovering from these storms is especially burdensome in rural counties with limited budgets and resources, this federal aid will be vital to these counties.”

The President’s declaration included Clallam, Grays Harbor, Island, Jefferson, Kitsap, Mason, Pacific, Pend Oreille, San Juan, Snohomish and Wahkiakum counties. The declaration covers winter storm damages between January 27 and February 4.

Governor Gregoire proclaimed a state of emergency March 4 in the eleven counties because of damages resulting from strong winds, record amounts of rainfall, flooding, saturated soils, slope failures, landslides, seawall erosion, fallen trees and snowfall.

A damage survey by joint state-federal teams in late February showed the most severe impacts in western Washington were to the public transportation systems, ports, water supply systems, and local electric and sewer utilities.

Damages in eastern Washington were most extensive to public utility infrastructure and emergency communications systems in Pend Oreille County, due to the combination of heavy snow, ice and high wind.

Damage reports from local jurisdictions determined that uninsured storm damage to individual homes, residences and small businesses was insufficient to warrant a federal disaster request for assistance to individuals and households, or to request for physical disaster loans for homeowners, renters, and non-farm businesses from the U.S. Small Business Administration.