Governor Walker requests FEMA assessments in 17 counties

Wisconsin State Farmer

MADISON – Governor Scott Walker has announced the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) will conduct a Preliminary Damage Assessment (PDA) next week in 17 Wisconsin counties hit hard by flooding and tornadoes.  FEMA officials will begin looking at flood-damaged homes and public infrastructure on September 24.

A trailer home smolders (foreground) while floodwaters cover a large area in the Vernon County municipality of Chaseburg, Wis. Flash flood warnings are still in effect for Vernon and Crawford Counties and heavy overnight rains.

“The floods and tornadoes have devastated so many families and businesses across Wisconsin,” Governor Walker said. “I look forward to having FEMA in our state next week to assess damages as we take the first step to request a federal disaster declaration.”

The damage total from last month's flooding and storms in Wisconsin continues to rise and now approaches a quarter of a billion dollars.

Gov. Walker tweeted on Tuesday that the preliminary damages are nearly $234 million, up from the last estimate of $209 million from less than two weeks ago.

FEMA teams will assess damage to homes in Adams, Columbia, Crawford, Dane, Dodge, Fond du Lac, Green Lake, Jefferson, Juneau, La Crosse, Marquette, Monroe, Ozaukee, Richland, Sauk, and Vernon Counties.

Local and county officials will escort the teams to view homes that were destroyed or sustained major damage. The teams do not go inside the home but rather will verify damage from the outside. Residents do not need to be home.

Local damage assessments from counties finalized today shows more than $108 million in damage to residences. This includes 56 homes destroyed, 564 homes with major damage, and nearly 4,000 with minor or affected damage. In addition, 14 businesses were destroyed, 62 sustained major damage and 96 reported minor damage with losses of nearly $49 million.

Flooding also caused more than $75 million in damage to public infrastructure such as roads, bridges, and dams, and emergency protective measures.  Damage assessments to look at public assistance (infrastructure) will be conducted in Adams, Crawford, Dane, Dodge, Fond du Lac, Green Lake, Iron, Juneau, La Crosse, Marquette, Monroe, Ozaukee, Richland, Sauk, and Vernon Counties.

A grain semi trailer lies tipped over amongst a pile of debris Wednesday, August 29, 2018 at W12072 Hemp Road near Waupun, Wisconsin.

Much of southern Wisconsin was hit with heavy rains, flash flooding, damaging winds and tornadoes during the latter part of August.  A large portion of southwest to central Wisconsin had over 10” of rain, with some areas measuring over 20” of rain causing many major rivers including the Baraboo and Kickapoo Rivers to flood at historic levels.  One person was killed in Dane County during flash flooding.

On August 28, severe storms spun up 19 tornadoes and 90-100 mph winds in the east central region causing widespread damage. 

Beginning September 24, teams comprised of officials with FEMA, U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) and Wisconsin Emergency Management will work with local and state officials in viewing both residential and public infrastructure damage. The PDA should be finished in a week.