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FEMA flood damage assessment starts in 9 counties

Agents to visit 9 Wisconsin counties

BOSCOBEL, Wis. - The Federal Emergency Management Agency started their work Tuesday morning assessing major flood damage across several Wisconsin counties.

Teams are looking at nine counties with storm damage. Together, damage in those states must meet a threshold of $7 million for the state to apply for a federal disaster declaration.

If the numbers across the state don't add up, the communities will have to find a way to pay up.

"It's a really limited amount of assistance for the community. It really would be devastating. You look at the damage out here and our communities' budgets are tight already. You're talking $1.5 million on some of the hardest hit towns," said Steve Braun, Grant County emergency management director.

"We capture all the damages that we need to. We have all the documents. That way we can make a determination if there's a federal disaster how much manpower we're going to need for this," said James McDaniel, public assistance specialist.

Officials said Grant County's damage is adding up.

"The threshold we have to meet in Grant County is $176,000. We're at $3.3 million," said Braun.

Bridges are washed out and roads are torn up after heavy rains hit several areas on Boscobel in June.

"Oh, it's still terrible. It's worse when you go down the road. People still can't get into their houses," said Bruce Heise, who has a cabin in Boscobel.

Heise said last month's flooding was like nothing he's seen before.

"Everything you just drove on this road, from this cornfield all the way up to the next bridge, you see is completely gone," said Heise.

Tuesday is just the beginning of the damage assessments. FEMA will be looking at homes hit hard in Grant County later this week.

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