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Teams survey mid-Michigan storm damage, could lead to federal aid

By McKoy Scribner,


GRAND LEDGE, Mich. (WLNS) — Downed branches, ripped shingles and a path of destruction are all that’s left from last month’s storms — and some communities are still hoping for disaster aid.

While people living near Webberville are rebuilding after a tornado ripped through their town, people living in Eaton County said they’re not the only ones looking to make repairs.

Teams with local, state and federal officials are taking part in a joint preliminary damage assessment of areas impacted by severe storms.

Those include Eaton, Ingham, Ionia, Kent, Livingston, Macomb, Monroe, Oakland and Wayne counties.

“It was very windy, and I saw nothing but branches coming after me and my next door neighbor’s house get hit by a big tree,” said John Flocker, who lives in Grand Ledge.

But those who need repairs said they’re thankful nobody they know was hurt.

“Technically, everything that is important is safe,” Timothy Hillock said. “This is just stuff, it can be replaced.”

Officials are looking to talk to people from impacted communities who initially made reports to collect data, to see if federal resources could help.

“Here in Eaton County today, we have teams going door to door,” said Lauren Thompson, Public Information Officer with the Michigan State Police Emergency Management and Homeland Security Division. “We’re doing individual assistance is what we’re looking into. So, that’s damage to private homes and businesses.”

She said crews are being joined by the Small Business Administration and the Federal Emergency Management Agency. FEMA will determine if help will rise to the federal level.

“There’s a lot of potential resources available for homeowners, so we’re just out trying to get the best picture that we can and document all of the damage that we can, in order to present the best package moving forward, so it’s better for everybody across the state,” Thompson said.

Officials said it’s important to note it’s not a guarantee federal aid will come through.

The surveys are scheduled to go through Friday.

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