Upper Peninsula Emergency Managers Still Collecting Flood Damage Reports from Spring Snow Melt

Estimates on damage from recent flooding in Houghton County should be available soon. Houghton County’s flooding this year has had a strange progression, according to County Emergency manager Chris Van Arsdale. That is due to the pace of storm systems moving through the region, broken up by periods of warm temperatures and melting snow.

So in a lot of areas they can’t do damage assessment, even in a lot of places in Houghton County. We can’t see under the water, and until that water recedes we aren’t really going to know what the damage is. So we finally have gotten to the point where we can make that happen. And so the state is asking us to get that done by the end of the week. And then kind of the next step in the process, we submit that online to the state. The next step, they will send people up, perhaps that last week of May.” – Chris Van Arsdale, Houghton County Emergency Manager, Houghton County

Upper Peninsula counties are currently assessing damage throughout the region from the recent snow melt that occurred between April 9 and 10th, and subsequent storm systems. The oddity of when, and how often flooding has occurred in recent weeks, has made it difficult for the state and local emergency managers to define the conditions that led to flooding.

“The other piece of that is FEMA will only cover 75% of the cost of repairs. In the past the state, through special appropriations, has covered 12.5%, or even the full 25%. They did in 2018. So that is another hurdle we’re going to face at some point, should we get this Presidential Declaration. Which is not a guarantee. But we think we have a strong case.” – Chris Van Arsdale, Houghton County Emergency Manager, Houghton County

In order access FEMA funding for recovery efforts local emergency manages will need help identifying flood damage throughout the region. Van Arsdale says that while Houghton County may not reach the 18 million dollar threshold alone, combining the impact felt around the Upper Peninsula will benefit residents and villages in need of assistance elsewhere. Such as in Marquette and Gogebic counties, where flooding damage has been much worse this year. So far Houghton county has received 17 reports, mainly from the Lake Linden , and Chassell areas. Emergency Managers around the Upper Peninsula are still collecting damage assessment reports from citizens and municipalities. Reports can be submitted by calling 2-1-1 or online. The online reporting link can be found here.