Disaster Declaration to Assist Rural Counties Recovering from Winter Storms
Joe Denoyer - May 26, 2022 1:28 pm
Governor Laura Kelly announced today that her request for a federal disaster declaration for the winter storms that occurred in late March has been granted. Governor Kelly made the request on May 3. Its approval will open federal funding streams for rural electric cooperatives to repair or replace infrastructure damaged by the disaster.
Counties named in the declaration are Barton, Clark, Comanche, Edwards, Ellis, Ford, Graham, Gray, Hodgeman, Kiowa, Lane, Meade, Ness, Pawnee, Phillips, Rooks, Rush, Stafford, Trego, and Wallace counties.
The declaration allows rural electric cooperatives to apply for Public Assistance funds for emergency and permanent work for the repair or replacement of infrastructure, including utility lines, damaged by the disaster. It also activates the Hazard Mitigation Grant Program statewide for actions taken to prevent or reduce long term risk to life and property from natural hazards.
This request was due to two late winter storms that impacted western and parts of central Kansas beginning on March 17 with impacts lasting into March 22. Each storm produced sticky wet heavy snow combined with strong winds of 50 to 70 mph that damaged power poles and power lines. Many power outages occurred especially during the second winter storm due to the previous storm’s damage to the utility infrastructure and rural electric cooperatives.
On March 31, due to the severity of the damage reported by local officials, the Kansas Division of Emergency Management requested a joint federal, state, and local survey of the damaged areas. On April 5, Governor Kelly requested an extension for enough time to complete the joint preliminary damage assessments which was approved until May 5.