SATURDAY: Mostly cloudy. High: 36. Winds: Light South.SATURDAY NIGHT: Mostly cloudy. Low: 32. Winds: South 5-10 mph.SUNDAY: Mostly cloudy and mild. High: 43. Winds: South 10-15 mph.Joe CrainStorm ...more »
Is FEMA Assistance Coming After Snow?
This storm dumped more than a foot of snow, leaving many of us stuck in a compromising situation.
"We're doing the best we can," Springfield Public Works Director Mark Mahoney said. "There's a full operation underway. It's just taking a little time just because of the duration of the snow and the volume of the snow--but we will get to your street."
State and local agencies could be left in a compromising situation, too. Crews spent most of Sunday digging us out as the record-breaking snow continued to pile up. Crews worked well into Monday evening--racking up overtime.
"We went through, our night shift came in, changed over at 7 p.m., went to 7 a.m.," Mahoney said. " Our day shift's now on, and our night shift will be back at 7 p.m.--so it's been around the clock."
The city of Springfield budgets about $300,000 in overtime each year. But they and other Illinois agencies would welcome help from the federal government if FEMA snow assistance becomes available.
"In order to qualify for federal assistance, there is a state threshold that has to be met of expenses exceeding $17.5 million," Sangamon County Emergency Management Agency Director David Butt said.
This time the snow stayed down south, skipping over the northern part of the state--potentially creating an issue.
"Our concern is that the city of Chicago, where they have so many miles of streets that they have to be plowing," Butt said. " If they did not see any trucks, any manpower, any overtime-- that will not be in this time's calculations."
FEMA assistance is for non-profit organizations and units of government. The hope is that all the overtime from crews in cities like Springfield will really add up. The Sangamon County EMA is reaching out to every municipality, every hospital, and every school in the area, to add up costs for snow removal. At this time, it's still being totaled.
The last time the state qualified for snow assistance was 26 months ago-- during the blizzard of 2011. Unlike this snowfall, that one did reach Chicago.