Gov. Scott Walker Aug. 2 requested a federal disaster declaration for Vernon and 10 other Wisconsin counties after torrential rains and flooding in June caused more than $9.2 million in damage to roads and other public infrastructure. The request is for federal assistance to help local governments recover from the disaster.
“During the height of the flooding, hundreds of local roads were closed, culverts were washed out and mudslides and boulders stopped traffic for days along major highways,” said Walker. “I saw the damage and I know the financial strain the storms inflicted on many families and local communities.”
The other counties for which Walker requested federal disaster assistance are Ashland, Bayfield, Crawford, Dane, Grant, Iowa, Richland, Rock, St. Croix, and Sauk, as well as the Red Cliff Band of Lake Superior Chippewa.
The Public Assistance Program would help communities recover some of the costs incurred through fighting the floods, protecting citizens, removing debris, and repairing roads and other infrastructure. The program is not for businesses or homeowners as the level of damage in these areas does not currently meet requirements for federal relief.
From June 20-28, a series of severe thunderstorms dumped a total of 8-13 inches of rain over northwestern, southwestern, and south central Wisconsin causing significant damage. Some areas received 1-2 inches of rainfall per hour which resulted in flash flooding and mudslides.
During the last two weeks, officials with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), Wisconsin Department of Transportation, and Wisconsin Emergency Management conducted damage assessments across the impacted areas with local and tribal officials. The assessments took extra time due to the extensive damage on local roads and the impact to both northern and southern Wisconsin.
If the federal declaration is approved, FEMA provides 75 percent of eligible costs.