Federal assessments underway in flood damaged Colbert County

COLBERT COUNTY, Ala. – Boots are on the ground in Northwest Alabama. On Tuesday, federal agencies began the process of determining just how much damage has been done by recent floods, and what they see may have a direct impact on whether or not aid will be made available.

Flood waters have receded back into the retention pond in Nathan Estates in Muscle Shoals.  Homeowners and volunteers have all but finished the initial clean-up, and now it’s time for damage assessment.

“What we can do is assess what we can get to. Later on, as the waters recede and there is additional damage, fortunately, they will not be left out,” explained Ricky Adams with the Alabama Emergency Management Agency.

Teams of agents with the Federal Emergency Management Agency and Alabama EMA are taking pictures and writing notes. They are documenting damage reports collected by local emergency leaders.

“We just need to get as much of that data into the system as we can so we can submit that and start making a decision whether or not we are going to ask for a declaration,” said Adams.

Each county affected by the recent floods has a monetary threshold to meet for public damage. In Colbert County that is just over $200,000. The state then adds up each county’s damage to reach a total of $7.2 million, the state-wide threshold to get a Presidential Disaster Declaration. Eight counties are reporting damage from the floods so far.

“However, that number will probably grow because as we start looking at more in the western part of the state,” stated Adams.

If the state reaches the $7.2-million threshold and a declaration is granted – assistance will be made available to residents, business owners, and local governments with damage to infrastructure.

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