Federal officials have granted Missouri’s request to declare three southwest Missouri counties devastated by tornadoes disaster areas, freeing federal assistance for residents of those counties. It is the fourth federal disaster declaration for Missouri this year.

The latest disaster declaration will help individuals in Barry, Jasper and Newton Counties pay for short-term housing, perhaps even offset food costs incurred in wake of the tornadoes that struck May 10th. Pending is a request by the state for public assistance for those counties to offset the costs incurred by local governments responding to and recovering from the storms. Federal officials have denied the state’s request for a disaster declaration for Clay and Jackson Counties in the Kansas City area and Douglas Counties in southern Missouri for tornadoes May 2nd.

Missouri received its first federal disaster declaration the first month of his year. Significant winter storms hit Barry, Dallas, Laclede, McDonald, Newton, Phelps, Sonte and Webster Counties. Ice storms coated southwest and western Missouri in February. Seventy Missouri counties dealt with flooding in March and April. In May, deadly tornadoes ripped through the state.

Federal response is nice, says Governor Blunt spokesman Jessica Robinson, but isn’t as important as the response of average Missourians.

"The governor has said time and again that the worst in Mother Nature does bring out the best in Missourians," says Robinson, "and as there have been more events we have seen an outpouring of support from the communities as well as from emergency responders."

Download/listen Brent Martin reports (1:20 MP3)