McCrory requests aid for Watauga flood victims
by Anna Oakes
North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory on Tuesday sent a letter to the U.S. Small Business Administration requesting a disaster declaration for residents and business owners in Watauga County who suffered damages from the severe thunderstorms and flooding that stuck Jan. 30, his office announced.
If approved, homeowners, renters and business owners could qualify for low-interest loans to help them recover from the winter flooding.
Local and state emergency management teams surveyed the damage last week and met with SBA staff last Friday to continue damage assessment. Teams looked at more than 35 flooded homes and businesses in Watauga County to determine what may qualify for funding assistance.
The officials estimated the cost of flood damage to buildings and other property at $1,058,505, said Steve Sudderth, Watauga County emergency management coordinator. The breakdown of damage cost estimates in the county is $30,000 for three mobile homes, $48,005 for damage to 27 apartments and $980,500 for business damages, Sudderth said. The figure does not include the costs of damage to public or private roads or bridges.
If the federal government approves the governor's request, it clears the way for SBA to provide low-interest loans to storm victims, McCrory's office said.
The massive thunderstorms that rolled through the state Jan. 30 brought torrential rains and flooding to the mountains. Valle Crucis received nearly three inches of rain, while Deep Gap saw 3.7 inches and Boone got more than five inches of rain. Watauga County declared a local state of emergency that same evening.