Biden Issues Federal Disaster Declaration For April 5-7 Winter Storms In Panhandle


      President Joe Biden has issued a federal disaster declaration for 8 Panhandle Counties, including Dawes and Sioux, for damage from the wintry storms in early April that brought freezing rain, snow and strong straight-line winds. 

       Governor Jim Pillen had requested the declaration and Nebraska congressional delegation sent the President a letter of support.

     The declaration – which covered Banner, Cheyenne, Garden, Kimball, Morrill, Scotts Bluff, Dawes, Dawes, and Sioux – unlocks federal assistance to help with recovery from the storms April 6th and April 7th 

    Damages are still being totaled, but the initial tally was at least $10.5 million dollars, mainly for downed power lines and power poles, but there were also downed trees and damage to buildings and equipment. 

     Other storm impacts included closed highways and power outages that left some rural residents without electricity for a week.

      Federal funding to help with emergency work and repairing or replacing damaged facilities in the counties included in the disaster declaration is available to state, tribal and eligible local governments, as well as some private nonprofits.

        Andrew Meyer of FEMA, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, is overseeing operations in both western Nebraska and in the Omaha area, where recovery efforts from the Arbor Day tornado outbreak are continuing..