Gov. Pat McCrory has requested a federal disaster declaration to help 16 counties and the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians recover from this summer’s heavy rains, landslides and severe flooding.
The record-breaking rainfall damaged roads, bridges, culverts, public utilities, parks and even some schools in many western counties. If approved, the governor’s request would help these communities pay for the infrastructure repairs and debris removal and also cover the costs for emergency protective measures. Those areas that were most heavily impacted include: Alleghany, Ashe, Avery, Buncombe, Burke, Caldwell, Catawba, Eastern Band of the Cherokee Indians, Jackson, Lincoln, Macon, Madison, Mitchell, Polk, Watauga, Wilkes and Yancey counties.
"We requested and received federal aid to help many of our residents and business owners recover from this flooding, and now our local governments need help,” Governor McCrory said. “These 17 jurisdictions have done a tremendous job responding to the landslides and recovering from these devastating floods. But they need help financially to recover from these storms.”
A series of severe thunderstorms and heavy rains dumped between 10 and 20 inches of rain over much of the foothills and mountains from July 3 through 27. Several locations reported more than 20 inches of rainfall and many counties reported the wettest July on record.
Local, state, tribal and federal emergency managers have been working together during the past few weeks to survey public infrastructure damages and review costs spent on repairs. Early estimates indicate damage costs totaled nearly $25 million in flood response and repairs. If approved, the presidential disaster declaration would make federal funds available to cover 75 percent of eligible costs.
On Thursday, Sept. 12, Gov. McCrory declared a state of emergency as the first step in securing federal financial assistance to help these communities recover. The N.C. Department of Transportation is seeking federal funds from the Federal Highway Administration to help pay for road repairs. The governor also has requested a disaster declaration from the U.S. Department of Agriculture to provide financial assistance for farmers impacted by the summer floods.
Earlier this summer, the governor requested and received a U.S. Small Business Administration declaration to provide financial assistance to families and business owners to help them recover from the flooding. The federal aid enabled more than 330 flood survivors in six of the hardest-hit counties to apply for low-interest loans and grants to help them repair and rebuild their homes and businesses and replace essential items.