Gov. DeWine declares state of emergency

Published 8:03 am Thursday, March 14, 2019

Heavy rains caused damage to 20 counties, state agencies to help

An emergency proclamation from the governor of Ohio may help Lawrence County deal with the after-effects of all the February rains that lead to flooding.

On Monday, Gov. Mike DeWine declared a state of emergency in 20 Ohio counties, including Lawrence County, that suffered from significant infrastructure damage as heavy rains poured down from Feb. 5-Feb. 13 on already-saturated soils, damaging public infrastructure, like roads and culverts.

DeWine said the state of emergency proclamation authorizes various state departments and agencies to coordinate the state and federal response and to assist local government in protecting the lives, safety, health and property of the residents of Ohio.

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“Many of these counties were still recovering from last year’s severe flooding when they were hit hard yet again,” DeWine said. “This is a key step in getting these 20 counties the assistance they need.”

Ironton Mayor Katrina Keith said she welcomed the declaration.

On Wednesday, she and Lawrence County EMA chairman Mike Boster looked at the  North Fifth Street bridge in Ironton.

“We have had some issues there and we’re hoping that it will be a part of the declaration,” she said. “We’re going to assess that to see if it can be incorporated into that funding.”

Under the bridge is a pipe that supplies water to the north end of Ironton and there have been discussions about replacing the bridge. An estimate from October is that it would cost about $1.35 million to replace the structure.

Representatives from FEMA and the Ohio Emergency Management Agency will be meeting with county and township officials in each of the 20 counties this week to assess the extent of damages in a process called a “joint damage assessment.”