Gov. Mike Dunleavy issued a disaster declaration for the Jan. 11 Southeast Alaska Storm, which activated emergency response options and the state’s Public Assistance disaster recovery program.
“As Governor my administration will move quickly to address disaster events and help overwhelmed communities,” said Dunleavy said. “Many Alaskan communities have struggled this winter as we experience some of the most challenging weather in long time. Alaskans are tough, and together we will overcome.”
The areas included in the disaster declaration are the City and Borough of Yakutat, City and Borough of Juneau, Haines Borough, Municipality of Skagway Borough.
Between Jan. 8 and 11 a storm system deposited up to six feet of snow in the disaster area. This was followed by warmer temperatures and rain which, when combined, created treacherous road conditions, interrupted power distribution, and compromised or damaged structures in Yakutat and Juneau, with the potential for additional damages in other communities.
After exhausting all local resources, the City and Borough of Yakutat issued a Declaration of Local Disaster Emergency and requested state assistance for emergency snow and ice clearance from public structures and emergency access routes.
In coordination with the City and Borough of Yakutat, the State Emergency Operations Center requested the Alaska National Guard respond to assist the community. On January 12, the Guard deployed a Taskforce of personnel to Yakutat and are currently engaged in emergency snow and ice clearance operations under Yakutat Incident Command.
For the declared disaster area, the state’s public assistance disaster recovery program reimburses communities for certain emergency protective measures and helps fund critical infrastructure repair. State Disaster Public Assistance can fund the repair, restoration, reconstruction, or replacement of a public facility or infrastructure damaged or destroyed in a disaster. Eligible applicants include state and local governments, political subdivision of the state, federally recognized tribal organizations, and eligible private nonprofit organizations.
Dunleavy has issued disaster declarations for other parts of the state for other weather related hardships, including the Matanuska-Susitna Borough, Delta/Greely REAA, and Copper River REAA, Fairbanks North Star Borough, including Nenana, and Denali Borough.