President Trump approves federal assistance for February flooding in Utah

Posted at 3:37 PM, Apr 21, 2017
and last updated 2017-04-21 23:30:53-04

SALT LAKE CITY -- President Donald Trump declared a major disaster exists in the state of Utah and has ordered federal assistance in response to severe flooding that hit parts of northern Utah February 7 to February 27.

The funds are for areas damaged by flooding and winter storms in Box Elder and Cache counties. Utah reported at least $6 million in damages to public infrastructure as a result of the storms and floods.

Winter storms created a heavy snowpack, and as temperatures warmed rain started to fall and the snowpack began to melt--sending water into streets and homes in Cache and Box Elder counties.

Two months later, the flood's impact still saturates the area.

Box Elder County suffered nearly $5 million in damage, County Commissioner Stan Summers said, just counting infrastructure alone.

"We'll actually have a laundry list of the things that we need to get done with the FEMA money," he said.

He explained it'll include repairing roads, bridges and culverts hit by the high waters.

The county already had to step in to fix many of the areas to get the infrastructure back up and running, he said.

He said FEMA will cover 75 percent of the cost of repairs, while the county will pick up the other 25 percent. He said the county is also putting together an irrigation plan to make massive improvements to culverts as well in order to prevent future flooding.

The plan will, "hopefully give us some standard of where we can start so this won't happen again, especially to this magnitude," Summers said.

But the relief won't cover any personal losses that homeowners suffered. Summers said a number of people didn't have flood insurance, and have been left paying for cleanup themselves.

In Garland, the lower half of Wyatt Brammer's split-level house is still completely gutted and destroyed.

"It's just been a big process so far," he said.

Brammer said nearly 3-feet of water took out a living room, bedroom, bathroom and laundry room.

With repairs estimated at $17,000, he said they aren't sure when they'll be able to get their home back to normal.

"It's just how it is now," Brammer said. "We've kind of accepted that, and it's really too bad."

Summers said organizations like the Red Cross and United Way have collected funds and offered assistance, and the county's helped by hosting fundraisers.

He said two recent fundraisers brought in $12,000, and they hope to double that amount with another fundraiser next week.

That fundraiser, he said, will be an online auction, which can be viewed here.