With Warmer Weather EMA Officials Work To Estimate Damages From Winter Weather

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DEKALB CO., Ala (WHNT) -- With the weather turning warmer EMA officials are able to start estimating exactly how much damage the winter storms the Tennessee Valley saw weeks ago did to county roads.

When the snow and ice hit DeKalb County earlier this year, it had most responders and officials working around the clock.

After the worst of it melted it left the roads in some areas in bad condition.

DeKalb County EMA Director Anthony Clifton says those effects from the storm are what taxpayers will eventually see.

However, Clifton says there's an up side and a down side. "In the short-term yes, we got out relatively cheap and in the long term, the snow and ice storms of January and February are going to cost us a considerable amount of money," Clifton says.

In the short-term the EMA says the county won't have to hash out as much money as you might think. "The direct costs of the storm are the materials we put down," Clifton says, "The slag, the calcium they put on the roads, and really the overtime for running the machinery."

Relatively those costs won't be as bad as the EMA says they could have been. Another direct cost of the storms is the overtime the responders and different county workers put in. "It's not as much as it could be because it was a relatively short-lived event," Clifton says.

That's where the good ends though. "Our real costs come later," Clifton says. "Our real costs come in road damages. Road damages from cold weather is the biggest cost to the county."

The ice and snow creates potholes and other issues. "Those potholes turn into complaints for the Commissioners and the roads eventually have to be resurfaced and that's expensive," Clifton says.

The EMA is just now starting to work to find out how many roads are damaged and how much money that will cost the county.

As the weather turns warmer the EMA will have a more concrete idea of how bad the damage actually is, and what it will mean for DeKalb County residents' wallets. "That's the indirect costs that really costs us money," Clifton says.

Other area counties starting to determine estimates as well. Marshall County officials say they are working to find out how much damage they will have to deal with, and where to find that money within the budget.


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