FEMA Agents Assess Mayes County Damage

Tuesday, May 12th 2009, 5:21 pm
By: News On 6

By Jeffrey Smith, News On 6

MAYES COUNTY -- Early reports show recent flooding in Mayes County has caused millions of dollars in damage.

Those numbers come from FEMA agents who are on the ground this week assessing the aftermath.

Ten days after severe flooding engulfed most of Mayes County, county, state and federal personnel are on hand checking out the damage.

They say it's a lot to take in.

"The estimate is somewhere between $2 and $3 million in this county alone," said FEMA spokesman Winston Barton.

The minimum amount of damage Mayes County needs to establish to qualify for aid is $120,000. One bridge alone could cost more than $700,000 to repair.

"This is obviously a bad part. If this is any determination of how bad the actual roads are around this area, yeah, then there's damage," said Mike Clow, a FEMA agent.

The damage isn't just in Locust Grove.

Another bridge is shut down to traffic in Inola. In addition to the bridge, the surrounding road needs to be replaced.

There are also low-water crossings in Salina.

Mayes County paid $30,000 last week for temporary repairs. Road workers say it won't last another rain storm.

Three FEMA teams are canvassing the county assessing the damage. They're not writing down specific costs just yet, only a general overview of the need for repair.

"The $120,000 threshold for this county, that's a given," said Barton.

In two weeks, FEMA believes their report will qualify the hard-hit county for disaster relief.

The federal government will reimburse 75% of the cost of repairs. That could be more than $2 million.

The state picks up 12% of the tab.

Mayes County pays the remaining 12%.

Road repairs will take many months, but FEMA agents say they're here to help.

There are 25 Oklahoma counties asking for federal assistance to repair infrastructure and the three FEMA teams will go county-by-county, bridge-by-bridge, before they compile a final report.

The Oklahoma Department of Emergency Management says there's $5 million of damage statewide.