The federal government today granted a request by Gov. Jay Nixon to extend Missouri's federal major disaster declaration to Buchanan and Pike counties for the severe winter storm and blizzard that began on Jan. 31. Buchanan, Camden and Pike counties were not among the 59 Missouri counties included in the federal major disaster declaration issued on March 23, a decision that Gov. Nixon asked the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to reconsider. FEMA extended the major disaster declaration to Camden County last month.
Because FEMA has now granted the Governor's request, Buchanan and Pike and local government agencies in the counties are eligible to seek federal funding for disaster-related emergency response, snow removal and recovery expenses. The federal government will reimburse the state and local governments in a total of 62 counties for 75 percent of their eligible emergency response expenses associated with the severe winter storm.
"This is good news for Buchanan and Pike county taxpayers, because county and local government agencies incurred heavy expenses for emergency protective measures and snow removal to ensure the safety of the public," Gov. Nixon said. "I appreciate the Federal Emergency Management Agency extending President Obama's earlier major disaster declaration, so that these two counties can recover some of their expenses from this major winter storm."
On March 23, President Barack Obama issued a major disaster declaration for 59 Missouri counties: Adair, Andrew, Audrain, Barton, Bates, Benton, Boone, Caldwell, Callaway, Carroll, Cass, Cedar, Chariton, Clark, Clinton, Cole, Cooper, Dade, Dallas, DeKalb, Grundy, Henry, Hickory, Howard, Johnson, Knox, Laclede, Lafayette, Lewis, Linn, Livingston, Macon, Madison, Maries, Marion, McDonald, Miller, Moniteau, Monroe, Montgomery, Morgan, Newton, Osage, Pettis, Platte, Polk, Pulaski, Putnam, Ralls, Randolph, Ray, St. Clair, Saline, Schuyler, Scotland, Shelby, Sullivan, Vernon and Worth.
Due to the storm, which deposited up to 23 inches of snow in the state, Gov. Nixon closed I-70 between St. Louis and Kansas City, and I-44 from Springfield to Oklahoma. The storm saddled local and state governments with eligible costs estimated at more than $14 million for removal of the record or near-record snowfall.
In advance of the historic storm, Gov. Nixon on Jan. 31 declared a state of emergency for all of Missouri. The order activated the Missouri State Emergency Operations Plan, which allowed state agencies to assist local jurisdictions with emergency preparation and response. The Governor also activated 600 members of the Missouri National Guard on Jan. 31 before the storm hit, so they were deployed around the state to provide help where it was needed most.
During the brunt of the storm on Feb. 1, Gov. Nixon spent several hours at the State Emergency Operations Center to receive continuous updates from state and local emergency response officials.