St. Charles County has been hard at work to clean up and assess the damage from the May 31st EF3 tornado and the June 4th breach of the Consolidated North County Levee in West Alton.
“All of St. Charles County’s departments have pulled together for this response,” said Steve Ehlmann, County Executive. “This is the first time the County has faced tornado and flooding at the same time but St. Charles County Government’s employees are committed to the needs of our citizens, whether that’s the 12-hour days the Highway Department has put in the last nine days, or the Emergency Management staff who worked 20-hour days to coordinate response to the tornado and flood.”
Ehlmann would also like to thank the community for their response. “Neighbors helping neighbors, from cleaning up storm debris to sandbagging for West Alton, is what St. Charles County is all about,” said Ehlmann. “Residents deserve an enormous thank you for helping each other and for working with us as we clean up and rebuild.”
Following is an update, as of June 10, on St. Charles County’s status for tree debris cleanup, costs, damage and more from the tornado and flooding:
· Since June 1, the St. Charles County Highway Department has worked 12-hour days, 7 days a week, to haul away tree and limb debris from the May 31 storm. Starting June 8, DRC Emergency Services, LLC began to assist the Highway Department in tree debris removal. From June 1-9, crews hauled away 13,000 tons, approximately 1,400 tons per day, of tree debris from the storm. With the help of the additional crews, the pace is estimated to increase to 3,200 tons per day. The Department is approximately 10 days to two weeks out from finishing the entire tree debris clean-up, which is estimated to be 45,000-50,000 tons.
The Highway Department’s first priority is to pick up trees and limbs in unincorporated impacted areas east of Highway 94, north of Highway 40/61, south of Friedens Road, and along Arena Parkway, including Pralle Lane. Otherwise, Highway Department crews will follow County snow routes adjacent to the defined area. Residents in the impacted areas should bring the tree and limb debris to the curb; also, residents do not need to schedule pickup nor should they bag the debris for the Highway Department, and there is no set schedule for when crews will reach particular streets, subdivisions, etc. For questions about tree debris clean-up, please call the Highway Department at (636) 949-7305.
· St. Charles County Government’s initial estimate of the cost for response to the community due to the storm and flooding, and for damage to County facilities, is $1.4 million. This number does not include damage and costs to other jurisdictions in the county. Once final numbers are determined, a detailed breakdown will be released.
· Going forward, St. Charles County will utilize FEMA’s standards for accounting for home damage. As of Thursday, June 6, FEMA assessed that 562 homes had minor damage, 147 had moderate damage, and 42 had major damage or were destroyed from the May 31 storm/tornado. All of FEMA’s data from St. Charles County and other affected counties will go to Governor Jay Nixon this week for review. Governor Nixon has initiated the process at the state level for a Presidential Declaration for individual assistance to families and businesses. Local jurisdictions have provided figures to support the Governor’s request.
· As of June 6, a total of 241 homes were inaccessible due to flooding. Starting June 11, St. Charles County’s Community Development department will begin further assessments of homes in the flood-impacted areas, with the assistance of the Division of Emergency Management.
· As of June 9, the voluntary evacuation order for West Alton was lifted, and the National Weather Service cancelled the Flash Flood Watch for West Alton. The inundated area east of Highway 67 is draining. Lock and Dam 25 in Winfield has opened, and the U.S. Coast Guard has reopened the rivers to traffic.
Residents affected by the storm and flood can find information about clean up and more by clicking on the “Storm, Flood and Road Closure Information” button on the homepage of St. Charles County’s website, www.sccmo.org.