Although the past week has been filled with sunny skies and warm weather, Harvey County continues to deal with the aftermath of a recent round of heavy rains.
The county had an estimated $800,000 in damage from a series of summer storms that resulted in flooding, downed trees and washed out roads. That damage estimate could go even higher as reports are refined.
On Thursday afternoon, a group of officials from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the Kansas Division of Emergency Management (KDEM) traveled to Harvey County to perform a preliminary damage assessment. If approved for a federal disaster declaration, Harvey County could receive reimbursement from FEMA.
Harvey County Emergency Management coordinator Lon Buller thanked local agencies for helping put together damage estimates during a stressful time.
"We know it was very difficult," Buller said. "It was somewhat different than the snowstorms earlier this year. We know it was tough, because when we made the call, we didn't know what the roads were like, because the water was still there."
FEMA, KDEM and local officials met in the training room at the Law Enforcement Center in Newton. The county can count damage that occurred between the period of July 22 through Aug. 16. FEMA/KDEM officials said they would need to see examples of 20 percent of the damage so they could put together a rough damage estimate and submit a dollar figure to FEMA.
Most townships in Harvey County sent representatives to the meeting, along with representatives from several cities, schools, colleges and Harvey County.
FEMA asked for information such as: what repairs already have been made and what repairs still need to be made; what kind of equipment townships, cities, etc., have; labor cost for post-storm response; photos of the damage; receipts for expenses; number of storms that occurred during the period; and how many inches of rain Harvey County received.
FEMA provides reimbursements at the rate of 75 percent of authorized expenses, and the state of Kansas will pay another 10 percent — bringing the county's total potential reimbursement to 85 percent of damage expenses.