Flood recovery turns into waiting game in Colbert County

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COLBERT COUNTY, Ala. – It has been just over a month since flood waters crippled portions of north Alabama. In total, 10 counties have been declared eligible for federal help, and now it is a waiting game to see if President Trump signs off.

It was a stunning sight in late February. Crews did everything they could to rescue people from flood waters rushing into their homes in Colbert County. In the following weeks, the waters finally receded and clean-up began.

“It gives you hope. It gives you a little bit of sense of why we were doing all this stuff to begin with; putting so much time in trying to work their process on their terms,” explained Colbert County EMA Director Mike Melton.

The Alabama Emergency Management Agency and FEMA have been working with local EMA directors calculating the damage across north Alabama. Once a $7.2-million threshold was met for public assistance, Governor Ivey applied for disaster relief money through FEMA. Officials are crossing their fingers and hoping individual assistance will be made available as well.

“I would continue fixing my place to the best of my ability of what I can get done,” stated Melton. “I know we are all hoping for some additional funding to help with them, but you cannot bet on any of that part of it.”

During FEMA’s audit of damage in Colbert County they disqualified almost half of what local governments turned in. Melton says he and his team have done everything they can do and now it’s in FEMA’s hands. He expects to hear something from them in the next couple of weeks.

Lauderdale County was left out of the federal disaster declaration at least for now. After assessments were made, they fell short of the $350,000 threshold of damage to be included.

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