FEMA tours areas damaged by Halloween storm

Published: Nov. 5, 2019 at 6:18 AM EST
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The tally of damage from the Halloween Storm in Vermont continues to rise. Vermont officials estimate damage to public infrastructure at upwards of $4 million. That's well beyond the million dollar threshold for federal aid. But the state is also pushing to see if damage to private property can qualify.

FEMA teams hit the ground on Tuesday to take a look at the damage around Vermont. One team started in Morrisville.

"This is our first town. There were several large sites, I would say, even worse than this site that would be considered substantial damage," said FEMA's Bruce Sherwood.

He says after their first round of storm assessments they anticipate Vermont will qualify for disaster relief to pay for damaged public property. But public roads aren't the only thing the state is hoping to secure money for.

"if you had any type of damage to your home as a result of this storm, please call 211 and report your damage," urged Erica Bornemann, the state's emergency management director.

She says acquiring money for individual assistance is a complicated process. Unlike asking FEMA for state assistance, there's no minimum number that has to be met. "What we have to show is a concentration of impact as well as severity of impact. And there's no nice threshold that we can tie up in a bow and say, 'Yeah, we made it.' Really, we have to do our best to write the story," she said.

Bornemann says it all depends on the severity of the damage -- how many homes were destroyed and the projected cost of damage.

Some people, like Anna Barrett. haven't decided if they'll seek federal funds. He car plunged nine-feet into a washed out road on Mud City Loop Road in Morrisville early Friday morning.

But Even if the state does not get money for homeowners from FEMA, Bornemann says they remain committed to helping people rebuild. "Like cleanup support through the volunteers organizations... as well as any other support that can be provided by the state," she said.

Beyond repairs, many crews are also looking at ways to prevent damaged structures from getting damaged again. One example would be putting a larger and more durable culvert under a road to mitigate the chance for a future washout.

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