Teams survey damage in Mayes Co

Wednesday, May 13th 2009, 11:57 am
By: News 9

PRYOR, Okla. (AP) -- Damage assessment teams made up of officials from the Federal Emergency Management Agency, and state, county and local emergency managers are scheduled to continue surveying damage on Wednesday left by recent floods in eastern and southern Oklahoma.
   Teams on Tuesday toured Mayes County to verify an estimated $2 million to $3 million in recent flood damage to public infrastructure, FEMA spokesman Winston Barton said. More than 8 inches of rain fell in Mayes County last week, killing a Pryor woman who drowned after her car was swept away by floodwaters and leading to dozens of high-water rescues.
   Statewide, three deaths were attributed to flooding.
   "What we're trying to determine is the total value of the damage," Barton said. For Oklahoma to become eligible, the state needs to identify $4.6 million in public infrastructure damage, FEMA official Mike Clow said.
   The Mayes County threshold is $120,000, Mayes County Emergency Management director Johnny Janzen said.
   "I think we're in good shape," Janzen said of the potential for federal help.
   Damage-assessment teams are scheduled to move on to Cherokee County on Wednesday.
   Janzen said most of the damage in the county was in and around Pryor, Chouteau, Locust Grove and Salina. Water caused about $700,000 damage to Chouteau Public Schools property. It also will cost an estimated $700,000 to replace a county bridge that washed out about seven miles east of Locust Grove, he said.
   Floodwaters also damaged water plants in Salina and Locust Grove, causing water outages in both towns, Janzen said.
   Besides inspecting damage to buildings, utilities, roads and bridges, teams spoke to public safety personnel to pinpoint disaster money spent on such things as overtime and fuel, both of which are eligible for reimbursement, Barton said.
   Once a fiscal estimate is compiled, they will present it to Gov. Brad Henry, who will make the request for federal aid to President Obama. FEMA's public assistance program to state and local governments pays 75 percent of approved costs. The remaining 25 percent is split between the state and city, officials said.