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FEMA to decide on disaster designation after January storms

Posted at 4:57 PM, Feb 04, 2020
and last updated 2020-02-04 18:19:59-05

MILWAUKEE — The Federal Emergency Management Agency is in Wisconsin to assess the tens of millions of dollars in damage after devastating storms hit the shoreline in January.

Milwaukee, Racine and Kenosha counties are being inspected by FEMA to review cost estimates collected by local governments. They're estimated to be up to $30 million from the January storms.

"We've seen parks with paths washed out, break walls that have seen extensive damage with rock walls collapsing," Andrew Beckett, Spokesperson for Wisconsin Emergency Management said. "That's an extensive amount of damage that does need to be repaired. This is what FEMA is looking at today."

At the South Shore Yacht Club, waves continue to pound the break wall and docks in the area. It looks much different now.

Wooden boards are missing in several docks and the break wall doesn't resemble much of a wall any more.

"That was an entire line of rocks," Diana Wright, a member of the yacht club said. "Huge, huge rocks. Now, half of it's gone."

There are openings now in the break wall. Areas where it looks like boats could exit the marina to get out to the lake. That barrier helps protect the shoreline so FEMA's decision could determine how the county pays for repairing the break wall.

"Obviously, it causes great concerns if you see those break walls wash away," Beckett said. "You see rock walls with gaps in them. That's very much something we want to make sure our local partners are taking care of."

"We're taking a look today at the damage," Sandy Jasmund, FEMA external affairs officer said. "The waves are extremely high. You can hear the wind just wailing."

Beckett says FEMA could make a decision on the disaster designation by the end of the month. However, he says there's no timeline on when repair work to the shoreline could begin.

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