Blizzard Brings Marinette Co. Emergency DeclarationIssue Date: April 19, 2018
Marinette County and most of Wisconsin were left reeling under record amounts of snow that fell during a blizzard that started on Friday, April 13 and continued into the night on Sunday, April 15. The snowfall, which reached 30 inches in some areas, created huge added expenses for state, local and county governments and led Marinette County the State of Wisconsin to declare an official State of Emergency in hopes of getting federal funds to help cover some of the costs.
At its meeting on Tuesday, April 17, Marinette County Board unanimously approved a resolution proclaiming a State of Emergency.
Emergency Government Director Eric Burmeister said this was the second greatest amount of snow to ever fall in a single storm event in the City of Marinette, and the most ever - 27 inches - in Peshtigo and up to 30 inches in some other parts of the county.
He said he was informed on Monday that Gov. Scott Walker wants to file for federal disaster relief for Wisconsin, and he was asked to join by submitting information on costs entailed by Marinette County and its communities. He said quickly assembled information shows that marinette county spent $160,000 beyond normal expenses in attempting to keep roads open, and figures submitted by about half of the municipalities show their expenses for snow removal and de-icing brings the total for the three day storm and its aftermath to more than $239,000.
Burmeister said he was notified by the governor's office at 1 p.m. Monday that the state needed cost figures by 2 p.m. He didn't quite meet that deadline, but did have things together to submit by 3:15 p.m. He thanked the Highway Department and the towns for their prompt responses.
Whether or not the disaster relief will be approved is up to Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and then on whether or not president Donald Trump wants to sign the check, Burmeister added. He congratulated the Highway Department and its workers for doing an excellent job of keeping county highways and roads open as much as they did during the storm.
Highway Commissioner Rick Rickaby said he has been told this storm was the second worst ever in Wisconsin history.As to its effect on his department's budget, Rickaby commented, "pray for a mild December. That's all I've got to say about our winter budget.
The resolution signed by LeFebvre states:"
WHEREAS, a severe winter storm including record snowfall and blizzard conditions, occurred from April 13 to April 16, 2018, in the County of Marinette; and
WHEREAS, record snowfalls of eighteen to thirty inches were recorded in Marinette County by the National Weather Service; and
"WHEREAS, such storm resulted in hazardous road conditions with roads becoming impassible and visibility greatly reduced; and
"WHEREAS, the Sheriff of Marinette County declared a snow emergency and travel advisory on April 14, 2018 at 0833 hours and again on April 15, 2018 at 0730 hours; and
"WHEREAS, the Marinette County Emergency Management Office is closely monitoring the situation in conjunction with other appropriate local and county officials;
"NOW THEREFORE, I, John LeFebvre, County Administrator by the authority vested in me by State Statute 323.14 (3) & (4), and the Marinette County Code of Ordinances Chapter 6, Section 6.04, do hereby:
"Proclaim that a State of Emergency exists in the County of Marinette;
"IN TESTIMONY WHEREOF I hereunto set my hand and have caused the great seal of the County of Marinette to be affixed."
Burmeister said one of the things required by FEMA is to have a proclamation of the emergency where expenses were outside what normal costs would be. He said he $239,000 in costs tallied so far is only the beginning.
Numerous events all over the county and all over the state were cancelled or postponed, including launch of the future LCS Indianapolis, from the Marinette Marine shipyard in Marinette, although the christening was held as scheduled on Saturday, April 14 despite the blizzard.
Factories, restaurants, stores and schools were closed, and many remained close on Monday and into Tuesday as snow removal efforts continued.
In some areas of the state even major highways were closed and motorists were being ordered not to attempt to drive anywhere.
There were reports that in Green Bay several walls collapsed or nearly collapsed, and the roof on one semi-abandoned building in downtown Peshtigo collapsed under the snow and walls were buckling.
Marinette County Board Chair Mark Anderson complimented Rickaby and the Highway crew for the work they did during and after the storm. "Everybody here wants to say, "good job!'" he said, adding that the road he and his family traveled were passable.
"From my management crew down to the guys plowing snow, everyone did a heck of a job this weekend," Rickaby agreed. "I'm pretty proud of the job they did."
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