Governor Herbert Requests Federal Disaster Declaration

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – Utah Governor Gary R. Herbert has requested President Obama declare a major disaster for the State of Utah. In response to last month’s severe winter storms and flooding in Southern Utah, the declaration would enable federal funding through the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to aid the local recovery effort. The recent joint preliminary damage assessment to publicly owned infrastructure indicated the most severe impacts were to roads, utility systems, and parks and trails. There is nearly $6 million in eligible damages throughout Kane and Washington counties – roughly double the required eligible damage threshold amount.

“Southern Utah is a vital part of Utah’s economic engine,” Governor Herbert said. “While I commend the community’s optimism and commitment to move forward, potential federal financial assistance would be a great support to the recovery process.”

Multiple state agencies sent representatives to Washington County to work with local emergency management and response crews during the winter storms and flooding. The Department of Public Safety’s Division of Homeland Security assisted FEMA with the preliminary damage assessment and would coordinate the federal assistance should it be made available. The Governor declared a state of emergency following the results of the preliminary damage assessment.

The Governor’s request will be reviewed by FEMA’s Regional Administrator in Denver, Colorado, before it is sent to the White House. If a presidential declaration is granted,
FEMA will designate the area eligible for assistance and announce more details at that time. Additional counties may be included at a later date based on county eligible damage threshold amounts. It’s unknown exactly when the State will hear back on the request.