A request by Gov. Jay Nixon for a major disaster declaration for areas across Missouri hit by the severe winter storm and blizzard that began on Jan. 31 was granted today by President Barack Obama for 59 Missouri counties. The declaration will allow eligible counties, local governments and the state to seek millions of dollars in federal funds for disaster-related emergency response, snow removal and recovery expenses.
The federal government will reimburse the state and local governments for 75 percent of their eligible emergency response expenses associated with the severe winter storm.
"I appreciate the President making this major disaster declaration so that our communities can recover some of their expenditures as a result of this storm," Gov. Nixon said. "The amount of snow received in the affected areas created dangerous conditions, and many communities were burdened with extremely high costs for emergency protective measures and snow removal to ensure the safety of the public."
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.
Today's disaster declaration from the President includes the following 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.
Gov. Nixon is asking the Federal Emergency Management Agency to reconsider the state's request that Camden and Pike be included in the list of eligible counties.
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.