Vermont Officials Request Feds Review Upper Valley Flooding Damage

  • Lucas DeVries is seen in flooding in White River Junction, Vt., on July 1, 2017. (Photo courtesy - Kirsten Arnesen-Trunzo)

Friday, July 07, 2017

White River Junction — Vermont emergency management officials on Thursday requested a federal tally of damage from this weekend’s storm, making a step toward receiving disaster aid as the state’s own count soared into the millions.

“More than $2 million in damage to public infrastructure has been verified by the state, and the cost of still more damage is yet to be officially tallied,” according to a Thursday afternoon news release from Vermont Emergency Management.

Vermont officials have been meeting with local leaders in Thetford, Norwich and other towns west of the Connecticut River that were rocked by a chain of thunderstorm cells on Saturday and are still working to restore full road access.

FEMA will use Vermont’s damage estimates to help determine whether or not the state qualifies for federal aid. To qualify for a public assistance disaster declaration under the federal Stafford Act, Vermont has to demonstrate it incurred at least $1 million in eligible costs at a rate of $3.61 per capita in each affected county, the news release said.

Should those thresholds be met, Gov. Phil Scott may forward a request for a disaster declaration to FEMA, which may ask President Donald Trump to sign an order releasing funds.

Communities then would receive a 75 percent reimbursement for response and recovery costs, including repairs to local roads, public buildings and other municipal assets.

Meanwhile, New Hampshire authorities say damage from the weekend flooding could top $12 million.

“The initial damage assessments provided by local officials indicate an excess of $11.5 million in damages with a vast majority of the damage occurring in Grafton County,” New Hampshire Homeland Security and Emergency Management Director Perry Plummer said in a statement on Thursday evening. “We fully expect to meet the thresholds and justifications required to ask the governor to request a presidential disaster declaration.”

The owners of homes or businesses that sustained damage should call 2-1-1 and report the damage, Plummer said. Volunteer assistance or other assistance may be available, he said.

Those calling from close to the Vermont border should call the 2-1-1 New Hampshire direct line at 1-866-444-4211, he said.