President Donald Trump has approved Gov. Mike Parson’s request for a federal major disaster declaration for 19 Missouri counties hit by severe storms on May 3 and 4. The declaration means local governments and nonprofit agencies can request public help for response and recovery costs associated with the storms. A press release from Parson’s office says the federal aid will help with repair and replacement costs for damage to electric power systems, buildings, bridges, roads, and other public infrastructure.

Missourinet Lebanon affiliate KBNN reports Monday’s severe weather caused damage at the Floyd Jones Airport in Lebanon (May 4, 2020 photo courtesy of KBNN Radio website)

Poplar Bluff-based Ozark Border Electric Cooperative in southeast Missouri described the storms as the worst to hit the region since the 2009 ice storm. KFVS-TV in Cape Girardeau reported more than 10,000 residents across the region were without power for a time. An EF-1 tornado also swirled through the Bootheel town of Marston. The Floyd Jones Airport in southern Missouri’s Lebanon was also damaged.

Preliminary damage estimates are in the neighborhood of $9.3 million.

The counties battered by the storms are mostly in southeast Missouri, but also include ones in western, southwest and southern Missouri. The governor requested federal assistance for Bates, Butler, Carter, Dallas, Douglas, Dunklin, Henry, Hickory, Howell, Laclede, New Madrid, Oregon, Pemiscot, Polk, Ripley, Shannon, Stoddard, Wayne, and Wright Counties.

“As Missouri continues to respond to COVID-19 and build on our economic recovery efforts, Federal Emergency Management Agency assistance will now provide much needed support to local governments and nonprofits that sustained the brunt of the damage from the May storms,” Gov. Parson says. “The hard work of Missouri citizens, businesses, and communities are fueling our recovery, and this federal assistance will help us continue to move our state forward.”

The disaster declaration also means FEMA Hazard Mitigation assistance will be available to Missouri to help with cost-effective measures to reduce the chance of for future damage to public infrastructure as a result of natural disasters.

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