Florence Co. qualifies for winter storm relief from FEMA

FLORENCE, SC (WMBF) Florence and other counties could soon see a refund for some of the money used to combat the most recent winter storm.

"Damage assessments or a loss from the PDA equals a little over $55 million from the state," said Florence County Emergency Management Director Dusty Owens.

That's the news the Federal Emergency Management Agency delivered after completing a winter storm damage assessment on counties in the State of South Carolina.

Dusty Owens said Florence County was one of those areas that met FEMA's threshold for possibly getting federal funding to help pay for more than $2 million in damage left behind by the last winter storm.

"Threshold is a dollar amount based on your population; for Florence County its $479,000."

Right now 21 counties from around the state meet the thresholds set by FEMA to possibly get federal assistance.

"At this point that information will go to the governor's office and the governor will make a decision on requesting federal assistance."

Governor Nikki Haley, is expected to make a decision within the next few days on whether or not she will ask FEMA to help the state. If Haley does decide to seek aid, the request will move on to the president, for final approval.

"If it is all approved we will receive a presidential disaster of declaration for public assistance," said Owens.

And if approved, it doesn't mean everyone impacted the storm will get a check.

"The FEMA term is public assistance and it can be somewhat misleading. That assistance is not to the general public, that is to public agencies or governmental offices," said Owens.

While county agencies like Florence wait for the powers that be to make their decisions, Owens said the people of the county should learn from the experience the last winter storm brought them.

"Citizens need to be prepared to be self-sufficient for at least 72-hours following the disaster is usually going to take that amount of time for assistance to get to them and we saw that very clearly with the power outages in this event," said Owens.

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