State of emergency declared for Osceola County following area flooding

OSCEOLA COUNTY — Aid from Lansing is being sought by Osceola County Commission Chair Larry Emig following his declaration of a state of emergency for the county.

The request was issued "due to a prolonged series of extreme winter conditions, severe storms, and flooding which has caused widespread and severe damage to property and has caused extraordinary threat of injury and loss of life," according to the formal document.

In the declaration, Emig requests Gov. Rick Snyder declare a state of emergency after the county provides an assessment of damage. If conditions warrant, he asks Synder to petition to President Obama to do the same.

"The river flooded more than 15 feet," Emig said. "It's all because of the amount of snowfall we had this winter, and then all of the rain we got on the weekend (of April 12). The combination of the two was the perfect storm, so to speak."

He said destruction took place throughout Osceola County, with bridges damaged, roads washed away and other hazards.

Emig also aims to put other resources to work helping local response efforts from the state, including:

  • MSP Aviation helicopter to support damage assessment and high level documentation of water impact,
  • Traffic control resources including: traffic signs, barricades, cones, etc. to support blocking of main roads, routes and emergency detours,
  • Technical engineering to assess water impact on local roads and bridges,
  • U.S. Army Corps of Engineers support in high water marking for historical and mitigation documentation, sandbags to replace stocks used to protect critical infrastructure and ensure emergency floodfighting contingency, and floodfight training to personnel,
  • Provision of bulk public information publications from FEMA, American Red Cross, etc. aimed at response and recovery,
  • Financial assistance to support extraordinary emergency cost of snow and debris removal, emergency protective actions, repair of roads and evacuations reflective of FEMA Public Assistance programs,
  • Financial and technical assistance to support mitigation actions in relation to current and future flooding,
  • Financial assistance to homeowners for uninsured costs and support reflective of FEMA Individual Assistance, and
  • Supportive coordination with MIVOAD agencies to help with clean up and recovery efforts.

Emig said a declaration for the state or nation could take until the week of April 21.