CIRCLEVILLE — Pickaway County is among 10 counties for whom Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine has requested a presidential disaster declaration from President Donald Trump following the late May tornadoes that struck dozens of houses and injured a few people.
Pickaway County received multiple tornadoes, including an EF1 tornado with winds of 100 mph on the Enhanced Fujita scale. That tornado is believe to have touched down west of Kingston Pike, causing structural damage in the south eastern part of the county. Another tornado, also an EF1 With winds near 105 mph touched down south of Tarlton.
“These storms resulted in a disaster of such severity and magnitude that effective response is beyond the capability of the state of Ohio and affected local governments,” DeWine said. “Federal assistance is necessary to supplement the efforts and available resources of the state, local governments, disaster relief organizations, and compensation by insurance for disaster-related losses.”
Last week, a Damage Assessment Team comprised of members of FEMA and the Ohio EMA visited Pickaway County to survey the damage and were led on the tour by Pickaway County EMA director Darrin Flick. In total, reports showed that six homes were destroyed, one received major damage, eight received minor damage and 34 were affected.
“It’s a good thing for the county and it’ll open up some additional assistance that people may be eligible for,” Flick said. “As we get additional information and here the final verdict from the president we’ll be able to move forward once we get that affirmation from him.”
Flick also said any residents still reeling from the storm who need assistance should contact his team at the EMA office by calling 740-477-1165.
“We’ll do what we can to help,” he said.
DeWine requested families be approved for several types of assistance including the Individual Assistance Program, Crisis Counseling Assistance Program, Disaster Unemployment Assistance Program, Disaster Case Management Program, Disaster Legal Services Program and the Hazard Mitigation Grant Program. DeWine also requested assistance from the Small Business Administration.
“The widespread destruction of homes, apartments, and businesses, particularly in the Dayton urban areas, is tragic and will require a recovery process that could stretch over a number of years,” he said. “Many of the areas affected have a high percentage of low-income families that did not have insurance. These survivors may not have the means to rebuild and/or relocate without additional support.”
In a letter to the president, Ohio Senators Sherrod Brown and Rob Portman asked for a “prompt consideration” and fully supported DeWine’s request.
“Tornadoes, severe storms, straight-line winds, flooding, and landslides in Ohio led to significant damage, causing widespread destruction of homes, apartments, and businesses,” they wrote. “The State and local governments in the affected areas do not have the capability to sufficiently respond to this major disaster, and therefore, federal assistance is necessary to supplement recovery efforts.”