UPDATE: More details released on ice storm disaster declaration

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From: Flat Lick Rural Electric Co-op/Facebook (Ice Storm 2009)

UPDATE POSTED 11 A.M. THURSDAY, APRIL 1, 2021

FRANKFORT, Ky. (WTVQ) – Less than two weeks after Gov. Andy Beshear requested a major disaster declaration from the federal government, President Joe Biden approved the request late Wednesday and ordered federal assistance to support Kentucky communities with recovery from devastating winter storms.

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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. “Thank you to President Biden and FEMA for their assistance, and thank you to the many state and local agencies and organizations who are leading the recovery and rebuilding efforts in our hard-hit communities.”

President Biden issued a Major Disaster Declaration in response to Gov. Beshear’s March 19 request for assistance for the severe winter storms that impacted Kentucky from February 8 through February 19, 2021. The Governor issued a State of Emergency Order on February 11, 2021.

Fifty-nine counties and 38 cities likewise issued local state of emergency orders.

This declaration does not cover a separate request for damage from widespread flooding that began the last weekend in February and continued into early March. That will be a separate declaration.

For the ice storms, the President ordered federal assistance to supplement recovery efforts by the commonwealth and local communities affected by the severe weather.

Federal funding is available to the commonwealth, to eligible local governments and to certain private nonprofit organizations on a cost-sharing basis for emergency work and the repair or replacement of facilities. Federal funding is also available on a cost-sharing basis for hazard mitigation measures.

The weather system produced heavy rain, hail, sleet, freezing rain, ice and bitter arctic air, which caused impassable roadways, massive power outages, water system failures, landslides, mudslides and disruption of critical government services.

The ice storm produced from the system left 154,500 Kentucky homes without power at the height of the event. There were four (4) confirmed casualties attributed to the event.

The Kentucky National Guard was activated, with 90 personnel assisting with the clearing of roadways, evacuating at-risk citizens and conducting wellness checks.

Gov. Beshear and Senior Advisor Rocky Adkins visited Eastern Kentucky in February to view the damage, meet with local leaders on the emergency response efforts and talk to those most affected, including those at the warming center at the Boyd County Community Center in Catlettsburg.

The federal Disaster Declaration includes public assistance for the counties of Bath, Boyd, Boyle, Breathitt, Carter, Casey, Clark, Clay, Clinton, Elliott, Estill, Fleming, Floyd, Garrard, Greenup, Harlan, Jackson, Johnson, Laurel, Lawrence, Lee, Leslie, Lewis, Lincoln, Madison, Magoffin, Marion, Martin, McCreary, Menifee, Mercer, Morgan, Montgomery, Nicholas, Nelson, Owsley, Perry, Powell, Pulaski, Rockcastle, Rowan, Wayne, Whitley and Wolfe.  Damages assessed by state, local and federal representatives are projected to exceed $30 million.  A request for additional counties may follow as damage assessments are ongoing.

“We appreciate President Biden’s timely award of a major disaster declaration, in response to Gov. Beshear’s request of March 19,” said Michael Dossett, director of Kentucky Emergency Management. “With the federal assistance, our counties and power utilities will be able to repair the catastrophic damages to our electrical infrastructure as a result of the February severe weather and ice storm event.”

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Public Assistance Program will provide funding to eligible applicants for allowable costs associated with debris removal, emergency protective actions and restoration of impacted infrastructure.

In addition, all areas in the Commonwealth of Kentucky are eligible for assistance under the Hazard Mitigation Grant Program, which provides assistance for actions taken to prevent or reduce long-term risk to life and property from natural hazards.

In the separate incidence of record flooding across the commonwealth, FEMA has completed damage assessments of over 2,100 homes examining requests for federal support of individual assistance.

FEMA is in the last phase of reviewing damage assessments for impacts to over 40 county infrastructures. Gov. Beshear will submit an application for a second federal disaster declaration immediately upon learning of completion of the findings.

Residents with questions or additional reports of flood damage should contact their local county emergency management agency.

ORIGINAL STORY POSTED 9 P.M. MARCH 31, 2021

WASHINGTON, D.C. (WTVQ) – President Joe Biden on Wednesday declared a major disaster in Kentucky and ordered federal help in areas affected by severe winter storms, landslides and mudslides between February 8-19, 2021, according to FEMA.

The declaration covers the snow and ice storms. The state is making a separate application for damage from flooding at the end of February and into early March.

Federal funding is available to Kentucky and eligible local governments and certain private nonprofit organizations on a cost-sharing basis for emergency work and the repair or replacement of facilities damaged by the severe winter storms, landslides, and mudslides in the counties of Bath, Boyd, Boyle, Breathitt, Carter, Casey, Clark, Clay, Clinton, Elliott, Estill, Fleming, Floyd, Garrard, Greenup, Harlan, Jackson, Johnson, Laurel, Lawrence, Lee, Leslie, Lewis, Lincoln, Madison, Magoffin, Marion, Martin, McCreary, Menifee, Mercer, Montgomery, Morgan, Nicholas, Nelson, Owsley, Perry, Powell, Pulaski, Rockcastle, Rowan, Wayne, Whitley, and Wolfe.

Federal funding is also available on a cost-sharing basis for hazard mitigation measures for the entire commonwealth.

Robert J. Fenton, Senior Official Performing the Duties of the Administrator, Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), Department of Homeland Security, named John Brogan as the Federal Coordinating Officer for federal recovery operations in the affected areas.

Additional designations may be made at a later date if requested by the commonwealth and warranted by the results of further damage assessments, according to FEMA.

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Tom Kenny joined ABC 36 News in June of 2001 as a General Assignment Reporter. A native of Peoria, Illinois, he graduated cum laude with a Bachelor of Arts in Mass Communications from Western Illinois University. He currently anchors ABC 36 News at 5pm, 6pm and 11pm. Tom has more than three decades of experience in broadcast journalism. He is the only broadcast journalist in Lexington television history to be honored with a national Edward R. Murrow Award. Tom was recognized for reporting on a story that gave a rare glimpse inside the secretive world of the Federal Witness Protection Program. He has won an Emmy Award for anchoring and another for investigative reporting, exposing the deceit and potential danger of online diploma mills. Tom has ten other Emmy nominations to his credit for investigative and feature reporting. He has won Associated Press Awards for reporting and anchoring. He has won two Addy Awards for excellence in promotional writing. Tom was the first broadcast journalist in Lexington TV history to be awarded the Silver Circle Award by the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences. It is one of the highest honors given by NATAS. It recognizes television professionals who have performed distinguished service within the television industry for 25-years or more. Tom was honored for more than his longevity, he was recognized for making an enduring contribution to the vitality of the television industry and for setting high standards of achievement. He was also recognized for giving back to the community as a mentor, educator and volunteer. Tom also has network broadcast experience in radio and television having worked as a sports reporter for ESPN, Sportschannel, NBC Sports and the Breeders’ Cup. He was also the studio host and halftime producer for CBS Radio Sports’ College Football Game of the Week and covered the NFL for One-On-One Radio Sports. Prior to joining WTVQ-TV, Tom was Vice-President of the Houston Astros Minor League baseball team in Lexington. He was part of the original management team that brought professional baseball back to the Bluegrass after a nearly 50-year absence. Tom has lived in Lexington since 1984. In that time, he has been heavily involved with dozens of charity and civic groups, with a special emphasis on helping Veterans. He can be reached at tkenny@wtvq.com. You can also follow Tom on Facebook www.facebook.com/TomKennyABC and Twitter @TomKennyNews. Just click on the links at the top of the page.