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Countys disaster declaration may help other parts of Kansas
new deh county commission disaster declare pic web
Shown is some damaged caused by high winds during storms in May. On Monday, the Barton County Commission approved a declaration of a state of local disaster emergency covering storms that occurred this spring. - photo by Tribune file photo

 Although Barton County didn’t experience any damage from the tornadoes, thunderstorms, heavy rains, flooding and flash flooding in May, the Barton County Commission Monday morning retroactively approved a declaration of a state of local disaster emergency covering that time frame.

Barton County Emergency Management Director Amy Miller told the commission that declaration will be forwarded to the Kansas Division of Emergency Management.

During this time period, tornadoes produced damages near Chapman and Abilene on May 25, and on May 26 and 27 heavy rains across south central Kansas resulted in numerous flash flood warnings and flood stage being reached on several rivers. Numerous counties and communities were impacted by the severe weather.

However, to date, Barton County has not had any significant qualifying damages for a disaster declaration, Miller said.  However, Midwest Energy reported damages of approximately $53,000 on May 24 to the Kansas Division of Emergency Management.  

“This amount is short of reaching the cost indicator of $98,716.18 for Barton County to become eligible for federal assistance dollars,” Miller said. But, even though Barton County may not qualify for federal assistance, the amount of damages can be counted toward the statewide dollar loss indicator and thus will help other entities obtain disaster assistance.   

“It helps the taxpayers of Kansas,” Miller said. . Besides, other entities have done the same thing when Barton County was in need of aide.

So, Barton County needs to declare a state of local disaster in order for the state and federal officials to determine whether current losses will qualify for federal assistance dollars.