FEMA Data Shows Breakdown Of Disasters In County
A historical look at federally declared disasters in McDonald County provides some insight at the kind and cause of such incidents over the last 65 years.
Information recently released by FEMA and shared by the McDonald County Emergency Management Agency outlines weather incidents that are federally declared disasters.
The information is available at www.fema.gov/data-visualization-disaster-declarations-states-and-counties.
McDonald County Emergency Management Agency director Gregg Sweeten said the information includes a list of such disasters since 1953. Historic federal disaster declarations are available by state, county, hazard and year.
During the last 65 years, McDonald County has experienced 21 declared federal disasters, including 11 severe storms, five floods, four ice storms, and one situation which entailed remnants of a hurricane, he said.
For history and weather buffs, the information is a goldmine. The data outlines certain weather events and what year they occurred.
For instance, in past years, McDonald County experienced a large snowfall that resulted in a federal disaster declaration.
More recently, from late 2015 to early 2016, the county experienced three different declared disasters, Sweeten said.
A weather incident case entails collecting information, making an assessment, filing paperwork and more. A case involving a 2015 flood just closed in September, he said.
After an incident, Sweeten, a FEMA representative and a state official visit and assess the damage.
When a disaster occurs, the county first has to reach its monetary damage assessment threshold, and the state has to reach its $8 million monetary threshold before the governor can ask the president for federal aid dollars.
McDonald County’s threshold is $87,253.74, which is $3.78 per person multiplied by the number of people registered in the last census, Sweeten said.
Once officials are satisfied that the threshold has been met, progress continues to move forward.
Sometimes, even though a great deal of damage occurs, federal aid dollars are not allocated. For instance, when the city of Goodman experienced a damaging tornado in April 2017, the damage threshold was not met; therefore, federal aid was not extended, he said.
Though incidents have occurred and some have been declared disasters in recent years, the county has quite a varied record over the years.
From 1973 to 1986, McDonald County did not experience any federally declared disasters, Sweeten said.
In the next few years — from 1986 to 1993 — more disasters began to occur.
However, in recent years, numbers have increased, due to flooding incidents. Flooding in the county has increased because creeks and rivers aren’t being dredged, he said.
Sweeten believes it’s important for residents to understand that the number of disasters isn’t growing because of global warming, but rather, because creeks and rivers can’t be drained or dredged, due to constraints placed by certain regulations.
Sweeten believes it’s important information for McDonald County residents to know.