The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has issued a major disaster declaration for 17 Wisconsin counties and two tribesaffected by severe storms, tornadoes, and flooding in July.
The declaration comes after Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers last week formally requested a federal disaster declaration for affected areas. The counties named in the declaration are Barron, Clark, Forest, La Crosse, Langlade, Menominee, Monroe, Oconto, Oneida, Outagamie, Polk, Portage, Rusk, Shawano, Vernon, Waupaca and Wood.
The Menominee Indian Tribe of Wisconsin and the St. Croix Chippewa Indians of Wisconsin were also included. Marinette County was included in the governor’s request letter but is still under review by FEMA.
“We are glad the federal government moved quickly to approve disaster assistance for folks that were devastated by the severe storms last month,” Evers said “This is an important step in helping communities across our state rebuild and recover.”
The declaration allows local governments to apply for assistance, which will help communities recover some of the costs incurred through emergency protective measures, repairing infrastructure, and removing debris.
Multiple rounds of storms beginning on July 18 and continuing through July 20 brought heavy rain and flash flooding. Strong winds with speeds up to 100 mph downed hundreds of thousands of trees and numerous power lines. Two people were killed during cleanup following the storms. In addition, more than 300,000 customers were without power for days.
The major disaster declaration is for Public Assistance, which covers eligible projects submitted by counties, cities, townships, and certain private, not-for-profit organizations. The program is not for businesses or homeowners as the level of damage in these areas, unfortunately, does not currently meet requirements for federal relief.