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Federal disaster declared for Kentucky winter storms

April 1, 2021 GMT

FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) — President Joe Biden has approved a disaster declaration in Kentucky from winter storms in February, Gov. Andy Beshear said Thursday.

The declaration is for harsh weather that hit the state from Feb. 8 to Feb. 19, including an ice storm that left more than 154,000 customers without electricity.

The declaration frees up public assistance in 44 counties for costs associated with debris removal, emergency protective actions and the restoration of damaged infrastructure. Beshear said damage assessments are ongoing and that a request could be made to add additional counties.

Damage assessments are projected to surpass $30 million.

Beshear declared a state of emergency Feb. 11, while 59 counties and 38 cities issued local emergency orders. The Kentucky National Guard assisted with the clearing of road, conducting wellness checks and helping residents out of their homes.

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“This declaration will make sure Kentuckians and our communities have the necessary resources to rebuild after the devastating ice storm that hit in February,” Beshear said in a statement.

Every part of the state also will be eligible for hazard mitigation federal grants to prevent or reduce long-term risks from bad weather.

The statement also said the Federal Emergency Management Agency has completed damage assessments of more than 2,100 homes from record flooding last month. FEMA also is reviewing infrastructure damage assessments, and Beshear plans to submit an application for a second federal disaster declaration after the review is complete.

Residents can contact their local emergency management office with questions or additional reports of flood damage, the statement said.