FEMA conducts assessment in Vernon County - WXOW News 19 La Crosse, WI – News, Weather and Sports |

FEMA conducts assessment in Vernon County

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Tod Pritchard Tod Pritchard
Lee Nerison Lee Nerison
Craig Ceschi Craig Ceschi
Vernon County, WI -

Teams with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) traveled throughout Western Wisconsin Thursday to assess flood damage.

96th Assembly Representative Lee Nerison said in his lifetime, he's never seen flood destruction to the extent he's seen the past few weeks.

"If you're looking at all thirteen counties that the Governor declared an emergency, I don't even want to guess because I know it's in the millions of dollars in Vernon County here and that's just on the roads and bridges that need to be fixed," said Nerison.

It's been just a couple of weeks since flooding hit western Wisconsin and since that time, local counties and towns have been busy assessing the damages and deriving estimates as to how much it will cost to repair all the destruction.

They've then reported those figures to the state, which brings us to where we are now in the recovery process: A preliminary assessment by the state and Federal Emergency Management Agency.

SEE: FEMA to assess flood damage throughout Wisconsin

SEE: Slide Show: Mudslides and flood destruction in Victory

Tod Pritchard, Public Information Officer with the Wisconsin Emergency Management Agency said there's been a tremendous amount of damage and it's widespread.

"So we really need to make sure that we're at a threshold that we can ask for that assistance and that's what we're doing today. We want to make sure that the damage is such that we'll be comfortable asking for and the Governor asking for Federal Disaster Aid if we choose to go that path," said Pritchard.

Craig Ceschi, Public Assistance Lead with Team #3 of the Preliminary Assessment conducted by FEMA said rather than taking those totals verbatim, FEMA's job is to confirm that everything adds up.

"For instance, if you have a $150,000 bridge repair, we're going to want to go out and verify how you got those numbers so they're as accurate as possible," said Ceschi.

With a limited amount of time, FEMA typically tries to see 10 to 20 percent of the sites.

"The power of water is something I don't think people understand but man it can do a lot of damage in a very short amount of time," added Pritchard.

They anticipate the assessments for all counties to be completed by the weekend or into next week. The findings will then be reported to Governor Walker who will decide if they should apply for Federal Disaster Declaration.

Earlier this summer, flooding that hit Ashland and Iron Counties in Northern Wisconsin required federal aid. In turn, this is the second time this year that FEMA has come to Wisconsin. 

MORE INFORMATION: Wisconsin Emergency Management

MORE INFORMATION: Federal Emergency Management Agency

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