No presidential disaster declaration for U.P. communities affected by deep freeze

Courtesy:  The Michigan State Police, Emergency Management and Homeland Security Division

The Michigan State Police, Emergency Management and Homeland Security Division (MSP/EMHSD) was notified that northern Michigan communities affected by the deep freeze last winter did not meet the threshold for consideration of a presidential disaster declaration.

At the request of the MSP/EMHSD, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) conducted a virtual damage assessment to review the damages reported by local jurisdictions. Each impacted community was asked to submit disaster-related costs and supporting documentation-including photos, invoices and payroll records-to demonstrate damages from the deep freeze incident.

FEMA concluded that $10.1 million in damages submitted were eligible toward the $13.7 million statewide threshold, which is necessary before a presidential disaster declaration can be made.

“The protection of public health and safety remains our primary concern,” said Capt. Chris A. Kelenske, Deputy State Director of Emergency Management and Homeland Security and commander of the MSP/EMHSD. “We continue to explore all possible options to help these communities recover and rebuild vital infrastructure damaged from this incident.”

State Assistance Provided
The state of Michigan has been coordinating resources to assist impacted communities throughout the deep freeze. Services provided by the state to date include:

* On July 22, the Michigan Strategic Fund (MSF) board approved a proposal by the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) for more than $6 million in Community Development Block Grants (CDBG) for northern Michigan counties affected by the extreme cold and deep freeze. These grants will enable communities to repair damaged water and sewer mains, roads and other vital infrastructure. Eligible jurisdictions must apply by August 18. Additional information is available at

* Since the incident began, the MSP/EMHSD’s seventh and eighth district coordinators in the northern Lower Peninsula and Upper Peninsula have been onsite and assisting local emergency management coordinators assess and report damages.

* From May to July, the state of Michigan provided leak detection services to Marquette and Delta counties to help identify broken water mains in affected communities.

Governor’s Declaration
On April 17, Gov. Rick Snyder declared a “state of emergency” for Marquette County to ensure all possible state resources, in accordance with the Michigan Emergency Management Plan, would be provided to assist the local response to the damage caused by last winter’s extremely cold temperatures and deep frost levels. On May 7, the emergency declaration was amended to include Charlevoix, Cheboygan, Chippewa, Delta, Emmet, Gogebic, Luce and Mackinac counties.