FEMA, Michigan State Police assess flooding damage in UP

Seven U.P. counties could get federal assistance for damaged infrastructure, like roads and bridges.
Published: May. 22, 2023 at 8:17 PM EDT|Updated: May. 23, 2023 at 10:18 AM EDT
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REPUBLIC TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WLUC) - Seven U.P. counties could get federal assistance for damaged infrastructure, like roads and bridges.

Last month’s spring flooding caused by heavy wet snow and a rapid melt led to road wash-outs, erosion and damaged pavement. Alger, Baraga, Gogebic, Houghton, Iron, Marquette and Ontonagon could see assistance from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). 20 to 30 sites in Marquette County received damage, including River Road in Republic Township.

“The snow went quick. It caused damage to a lot of the roads. Just up the road from here there was a bad bend in the river that took a lot of material away so, we looked at that and we looked at some roads that were flooded,” said Marquette County Road Commission Director of Engineering Kurt Taavola.

FEMA’s role in this disaster is to assess the damage to public infrastructure, not individual homes.

“We’re basically just here to assist them in identifying the damage and validating that it was disaster-related and that assists them with their application for a disaster declaration,” said Terry Fulk, FEMA Program Delivery Manager.

FEMA will review the information collected from this week’s assessment to see if other assistance will be available to municipalities.

The Michigan State Police Emergency Management and Homeland Security Division (MSP) will inspect homes that have already reported damage separately. Any assistance at the state level would come from the Michigan Small Business Association.

“We’re together here today in a partnership with FEMA, tomorrow we’ll be partnering up with our small business administration so two of our federal partners have come in to play with this initiative so, we’ll be working with them in addition to other state and local officials as well, so we can gain an accurate assessment of these sites that were damaged throughout the Upper Peninsula,” said Lt. Jeff Yonker, MSP Emergency Management Homeland Security Division.

In the next few days, the MSP will contact impacted homeowners and businesses.