Vermont to tally damage from May 4 storm

Photo by Chea Waters Evans
Cleanup continues in Shelburne this week as property owners clear away damaged and downed trees after the May 4 storm. Above, a crew from DJ’s tree survices works on Falls Road on Tuesday.

Vermont Emergency Management Director Erica Bornemann has requested a Preliminary Damage Assessment from the Federal Emergency Management Agency to determine if the state qualifies for a federal public assistance disaster declaration following severe storms on May 4.

The request asks for assessments in Chittenden, Grand Isle, Lamoille, Orange, Orleans, and Washington counties.  Additional counties could be added as more damage is reported.

The storm hit sections of Shelburne particularly hard with many trees downed in a short period of time, blocking roads and rail tracks and snagging power and utility lines.

To qualify for a declaration, Vermont must show at least $1million in response and public infrastructure recovery costs. Individual counties must also show public infrastructure damages and recovery costs of $3.68 per capita, which includes restoration costs for public utilities.

Preliminary estimates by the state indicate Vermont will exceed the $1million threshold.

FEMA must verify the damage before the governor can request a disaster declaration.

“In most cases the storm was quick but extremely impactful; our initial assessment found many communities with public infrastructure damage and municipal utilities with hefty power restoration costs.” Bornemann said.

“Regional planning commissions have been reaching out to towns for damage estimates, and it’s important for communities to compile and report damage so we can make the strongest case possible for a federal disaster declaration,” she said.
Eligible reimbursement costs include repair work on public roads and buildings, tree and debris removal from public rights of way, municipal employee time spent working on recovery, contractor help, equipment rentals, and other costs associated with the storm.

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