VDEM, FEMA to review storm damage in Danville next week

Storm estimated to have caused $8.7 million in damages


DANVILLE, Va. – Representatives from the Virginia Department of Emergency Management and FEMA will meet with city officials next week and review the damage from Tropical Storm Michael that has been documented.

The assessment will be added to assessments from the rest of the state to determine if the damage is enough for the president to make a federal disaster designation.

The washed-out portion of Audubon Drive is part of the estimated $2.9 million of damage Tropical Storm Michael caused to the city's infrastructure.

Commercial and residential structures also each received an estimated $2.9 million worth of damage.

"We have five properties that have been completely destroyed, we have 19 that are considered major damage, 55 minor damage, and then 117 structures that have been affected," Danville Fire Chief David Eagle said Friday.

Eagle is coordinating the city's damage assessment effort.

He said if the president makes a federal disaster designation, there's no telling how long the city will have to wait to get money from the federal government.

"When (Hurricane) Fran came through (in 1996), it took several years," Eagle recalled. "We still have not seen any assistance from the tornado in the spring."

Until money comes in, the cost of repairing the city's damaged infrastructure will have to come out of the city's budget.

Danville Parks and Rec's maintenance director Randee Brown said there was already about $500,000 worth of damage that had been discovered along the Riverwalk Trail as of Friday.

On top of that, other projects will now have to be done.

"Things that were technically budgeted for, but they wouldn't have been budgeted for for about another five years. So we're just having to move that timeline up," Brown explained.

Where the money for those projects will come from, she doesn't know.

"That's not a decision that I can make. That'll be something that will be made, probably, by City Council as to where to reallocate some funding," Brown said.

The deadline to get the state's damage assessment to the president for consideration of a disaster designation is Nov. 12.

A disaster designation has been made by the U.S. Department of Agriculture for 15 Virginia counties, including Halifax, impacted by heavy rains, from May 16 to June 30.

The Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services made the announcement Friday.

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