- Associated Press - Monday, May 25, 2015

DELMONT, S.D. (AP) - State and federal officials have wrapped up an assessment of tornado damage to homes and businesses in Charles Mix and Douglas counties, including the town of Delmont.

Last week’s assessment is the first step in determining whether aid will be made available through the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the U.S. Small Business Administration. State officials will now decide whether to make a request for federal disaster assistance, FEMA spokesman Jerry DeFelice told the Yankton Daily Press & Dakotan newspaper (https://bit.ly/1LyeRYe ).

Should the governor make a formal request, it would go first to the FEMA regional officer in Denver, where officials would make a recommendation to the agency’s headquarters. President Barack Obama ultimately would have to declare a disaster for aid to begin flowing into the area.

“The general standard is whether the incident is beyond local and state capabilities to respond to and manage the recovery,” DeFelice said. “There is no rigid threshold. We consider a number of factors.”

Those factors include the severity or trauma of the disaster, such as fatalities; whether homes are damaged to the point where they are no longer habitable; the affected population, such as elderly persons on fixed incomes; and the area’s past disaster history.

The National Weather Service rated the May 10 tornado as an EF-2, with a peak wind speed of 130 mph, a 17-mile-long path and a maximum width of 400 yards. It damaged or destroyed 84 structures in and around Delmont and also injured nine people.

Hundreds of people have volunteered to help clean up Delmont, logging about 4,000 hours of work, according to the state Department of Public Safety.

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Information from: Yankton Press and Dakotan, https://www.yankton.net/


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