33 Washington counties declared disaster

Olympia, Washington (AP) 3-09

Thirty-three Washington counties have been declared a federal disaster area due to severe winter weather.

The declaration issued March 2 by President Barack Obama was in response to public facility damage and emergency response costs from the storm that affected the area from Dec. 12 through Jan. 5.

“This is the largest federal snow disaster declaration in the state’s history,” said Gov. Chris Gregoire. “Local and state agencies have struggled to meet the costs to respond to the record-setting snowfall that occurred across Washington last December. The President’s decision can provide some vitally needed aid for these agencies.”

The declaration authorizes Federal Emergency Management Agency grants that can defray 75 percent of the eligible damages to state and local agencies, Indian tribal governments and some private nonprofit organizations.

The counties covered are: Adams, Asotin, Benton, Chelan, Franklin, Kittitas, Pierce, Whitman, Yakima, Clallam, Clark, Columbia, Cowlitz, Garfield, Grays Harbor, Island, Jefferson, King, Klickitat, Lewis, Lincoln, Mason, Pacific, Pend Oreille, Skagit, Skamania, Snohomish, Spokane, Stevens, Thurston, Wahkiakum, Walla Walla and Whatcom.