Storm damages may top $5M

Published 11:59 pm Monday, April 13, 2009

Monday’s severe weather was just the latest in a more than two-week episode of high winds and heavy rain that has local storm damage estimates rapidly approaching the $5 million mark, local officials said Monday.

County Engineer Darren Capps said Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) representatives visited the county last week.

“We rode the better part of two days surveying all the dirt roads,” Capps said. “FEMA said they had estimated $3 million in damages but after this weather they wouldn’t be surprised if it didn’t go up to $5 million.

“FEMA is going to be here (today) and we’re going to ride (the roads) again and get measurements, which will let us get an actual dollar figure in damages,” he said.

Additionally, state highway officials will also be here today surveying damages on paved roads, he said.

Kristi Stamnes, the county’s emergency management agency director, said the county spent the majority of Monday under a multitude of watches and warnings.

“We had a lot of rain and were under a flash flood warning because of so much rain in such a short period of time,” she said. “Then there was the tornado watch, which we were under for the better part of the day and the severe thunderstorm warning.

“People need to be cautious when traveling roadways,” she said. “We still have a number of roads that are washed. We haven’t fully recovered from the other storm systems that have passed through. Some roads that had been made temporarily passable won’t be anymore after (Monday’s) weather has erased what’s been done.”

Reports of suspected storm damage Monday included lightning allegedly striking a home on Lindsey Bridge Road and an early morning traffic accident on Devereux Hill.

Weather forecasts are predicting sunny skies and warm temperatures during the remainder of the week until Sunday, where the county will see a 40 percent chance of rain.