LA CROSSE, Wis. — The Federal Emergency Management Agency has sent teams to western Wisconsin to assess damage caused by flooding last month that killed two people.
The FEMA teams dispatched to the 12 affected counties on Wednesday will assess damage to roads, bridges and other public infrastructure, the La Crosse Tribune (http://bit.ly/2dVa2yR ) reported.
Their work will help Gov. Scott Walker determine whether to seek a federal disaster declaration, which is the first step in requesting federal assistance.
The state’s congressional delegation sent a letter to President Barack Obama on Tuesday asking him to promptly approve any requests he might receive from Walker.
Walker declared a state of emergency after a series of storms dumped 3 to 7 inches of rain on parts of the state between Sept. 20 and 22.
The preliminary damage assessments of $14 million in public infrastructure and $7.2 million in private infrastructure don’t meet federal disaster thresholds.
The worst damage reported so far was in Vernon County with an assessment of $10 million. Nearly 45 businesses and homes were destroyed and more than 204 others were damaged. Two residents of Vernon County died in flood-related incidents.
Nearly $5 million in damage was reported in Crawford County, where raging streams washed out land beneath BNSF Railway tracks, causing a freight train to derail and the Kickapoo River to flood the communities of Soldiers Grove and Gays Mills. Two private structures were destroyed and nearly 70 others were damaged.
Highway 131 between Readstown and Viola remains closed after an embankment below the road collapsed.
Information from: La Crosse Tribune, http://www.lacrossetribune.com