Gluesenkamp Perez, Washington Delegation Support Major Disaster Declaration for Communities Affected by January Winter Storms

Apr 02, 2024

Today, Rep. Marie Gluesenkamp Perez (WA-03) joined the Washington state delegation in sending a letter to the President in support of a Major Disaster Declaration in response to a series of severe winter storms that tore through Washington state at the beginning of this year.

The disaster declaration would allow impacted communities to access public assistance and hazard mitigation grants to compensate for damage caused by the storms. The request asks for assistance for 16 counties in Washington state: Clark, Cowlitz, Lewis, Pacific, Skamania, Wahkiakum, Clallam, Ferry, Grays Harbor, Island, Jefferson, King, Klickitat, Mason, Okanogan, and Skagit.

In early January, communities across Washington state faced record winter storms; the National Weather Service Seattle issued a blizzard warning for western Washington for the first time in over a decade and Southwest Washington was hit with an ice storm and freezing rain. Collectively, these storms left over 100,000 households without power and damaged countless buildings, including schools. Damage from the storms is expected to total $30 million.

“The damage caused by these successive storms has been extensive and overwhelming, leaving vital public infrastructure in both urban and rural communities throughout our state in need of significant repairs. Downed public utilities caused over 100,000 Washingtonians to go without power, some for several days. Many communities saw significant damage to public infrastructure necessary for local economies, such as boat launches, railroad tracks and popular tourism attractions such as state parks,” wrote the Members. “While Washington state’s first responders have reacted to these disasters promptly and heroically, the events triggered by these intense winter storms are quickly exhausting the already-strained capacity and resources of our local communities and state agencies.”

Full text of the letter can be found here.

Sens. Maria Cantwell (WA) and Patty Murray (WA) and Reps. Suzan DelBene (WA-01), Rick Larsen (WA-02), Dan Newhouse (WA-04), Cathy McMorris Rodgers (WA-05), Derek Kilmer (WA-06), Pramila Jayapal (WA-07), Kim Schrier (WA-08), Adam Smith (WA-09), and Marilyn Strickland (WA-10) also signed onto the letter. 

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