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Gov. Fallin requests disaster declaration for storm-damaged Oklahoma counties

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OKLAHOMA CITY – Governor Mary Fallin has requested a federal disaster declaration for Cleveland, Grady and Oklahoma counties as a result of storm damage and flooding that have occurred since May 5.

The designation would provide federal assistance to individuals and businesses in the storm-stricken areas.

In a letter to President Obama, Fallin wrote that Oklahoma’s latest round of record-breaking severe storms have brought flash flooding, damaging winds, baseball-size hail and at least 25 tornadoes down on the state.

Three Oklahomans lost their lives because of the storms.

In addition, 828 homes and businesses were damaged in the storms.

Of those, 157 were destroyed and 237 sustained major damage.

“Oklahomans, many still shell-shocked and traumatized from the impacts of the May 2013 storms as well as the storms on March 25, 2015, were victimized once again by this month’s storms,” wrote Fallin.

Voluntary agencies that the state relies on heavily during disasters have also been affected, according to Fallin.

Many organizations, including the Salvation Army and American Red Cross, have not seen the donations typically seen in previous disasters, which has limited the amount of assistance they can provide to victims.

“The totality of these events has left the Oklahoma community, from survivors to first responders, disaster relief agencies to all levels of government, extended beyond their means,” wrote Fallin.

If the governor’s request is approved, those who suffered damage may be eligible for assistance for housing repairs or temporary housing, U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) low-interest loans for individuals and businesses to repair or replace damaged property, disaster unemployment assistance, and grants for serious needs and necessary disaster expenses not met by other programs.

If the disaster declaration is granted, additional counties could later be added.

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