FEMA aids Isabella County after $87 million in flood damage


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Student employees walk through floodwaters on Broomfield and West Campus roads with buckets, rescuing fish and other wildlife from streets and ditches on Friday, June 23.

On June 23, rainfall caused by thunderstorms resulted in flooding across Isabella, Midland, Gladwin and Bay counties, causing more than $100 million in damages throughout Mid-Michigan.

More than $87 million in damage was reported by the Isabella County Emergency Operations Center on June 28. The estimate was determined with information compiled by several officials throughout Isabella County, including representatives from the road commission, sheriff's office, and Union Township Hall.

THE FLOODING, A TIMELINE

June 22

  • Heavy rainfall began around 11 p.m. Thursday.

June 23

  • By 3 a.m. Friday, several roads and parking lots around Mount Pleasant began experiencing flooding. Park Place Apartments saw severe flooding, with several vehicles underwater and many basement-level residences flooding out of their apartments.
  • Around 8 a.m. Central Michigan University announced the closure of its campus.
  • By 9 a.m. Isabella County Administrative Controller Margaret McAvoy reported for duty at the Isabella County Emergency Operations Center, where she served as public relations officer. The operations center would remain fully staffed at all hours of the day for the following two weeks.

June 24

  • Lt. Gov. Brian Calley declared a state of disaster for Isabella and Midland counties due to the flooding.

June 25

June 26

June 28

  • The Isabella County Emergency Operations Center released its initial $87 million damage estimate.

July 1

  • Mount Pleasant residents were encouraged to leave out belongings damaged by the flood for curbside pick-up.

August 2

  • President Donald Trump declared the state of disaster for Isabella, Midland, Gladwin and Bay counties, which had been requested by Gov. Rick Snyder on June 24.

August 14

  • The FEMA-operated Isabella County Disaster Recovery Center opened at 4855 East Bluegrass Road.
  • City commissioners approved a city budget amendment that would allot $340,000 over the next two years to repairs for Mount Pleasant parks damaged by flooding.

Breaking down the $87 million estimate, private property underwent $39 million in damages, $21 million to public property and $28 million to local agriculture. Since the initial estimate, further assessments have increased the estimate of agricultural damage to over $30 million, with the amount potentially being higher when crops start being harvested in September.

Fifty-one buildings on Central Michigan University's campus were affected by the flooding, with extensive damage done to the Student Activity Center, Dow Science Complex, Theunissen Stadium, and Foust, Calkins and Rowe halls. An estimate by the Facilities Management Administration placed the cost of on-campus damage between $7-10 million. Repairs were covered by the university's insurance.

Student Activity Center repairs included replacing flooring in the Large and Small Sports Forum courts, which were heavily-damaged by flood waters. The weight-training center, SAC pool and M.P. Fit room were also damaged. University staff, including student employees from Residence Life and Facilities Management, worked extensively to make the campus ready and safe for students participating in Leadership Safari.

On Aug. 2, President Donald Trump declared a state of disaster for Isabella, Midland, Gladwin and Bay counties, which had been requested by Gov. Rick Snyder on June 24. With the president's declaration, residents of the affected became eligible for federal assistance to help alleviate the costs of repairs, temporary housing and loans covering uninsured property losses caused by the flooding. The declaration also gives communities the opportunity to apply for hazard mitigation assistance from FEMA.

The FEMA-operated Isabella County Disaster Recovery Center opened at 4855 East Bluegrass Road on Aug. 14. The center operates Monday through Saturday from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Representatives from FEMA and the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) will be on hand to answer questions about disaster assistance and low-interest disaster loans for homeowners, renters and businesses.

As of Aug. 16, the SBA has approved more than $1.3 million in low-interest disaster loans to cover losses caused by the flooding. The SBA has encouraged anyone with losses to apply for loans as soon as possible. The deadline for applications for physical property damage is Oct. 2.

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