Whatcom County qualifies for FEMA benefits after August windstorm

P1110434Whatcom County is now eligible for federal help to recover from the windstorm that ripped through the county in August.

On October 28, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) announced that Whatcom, Clallam and Gray’s Harbor counties would be added to the list of counties that could receive public assistance (PA) benefits. Island, Jefferson and Snohomish counties qualified for PA benefits on October 15. The benefits can be applied to reimbursement for the cost of debris removal, emergency protective measures and repairs to public and some private facilities.

On August 29, unexpected high winds buffeted the west coast of Washington, causing hundreds of thousands of dollars in damages across the state. The National Weather Service recorded wind speeds of nearly 90 mph off the coast, and as high as 60 to 70 mph throughout the state. Dozens of people were injured, and at least two people, a 10-year-old girl in Federal Way and a man in Gig Harbor, were killed by falling debris.

In Whatcom County, at least 10,000 people lost power, and many didn’t have it restored for several days. Businesses, homes and vehicles in Blaine and Birch Bay were damaged by falling tree branches, and several weekend festivals, including Discover Birch Bay Days and Crab Fest, were closed down early.

Supplementary funding under the PA program goes to state, local and tribal governments, as well as certain private nonprofit organizations. The PA benefits cover 75 percent of eligible costs, while nonfederal funds cover the remaining costs.

For more information, visit fema.gov/disaster/4242.

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