The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

April 8, 2013

President OKs disaster aid for 17 Oklahoma counties

Staff and wire reports

— The White House has approved federal disaster aid for 17 Oklahoma counties hit hard by a blizzard in February.

President Barack Obama declared a major disaster in the state Monday and ordered federal aid to supplement state and local recovery efforts in areas affected by the blizzard Feb. 24-26.

Gov. Mary Fallin requested the disaster declaration last month. Federal funds will be available to state and local governments, utilities and certain private nonprofit organizations for emergency work and repair or replacement of facilities damaged by the storm.

Counties eligible for the aid include Alfalfa, Beaver, Beckham, Blaine, Custer, Dewey, Ellis, Garfield, Grant, Kay, Kingfisher, Major, Noble, Roger Mills, Washita, Woods and Woodward. Fallin said the counties have about $7.5 million in costs from the storm.

Enid City Manager Eric Benson said last month the city would pursue efforts to recover costs associated with the blizzard, specifically the cost of obtaining generators used to restore power to the city’s water well fields, over time and infrastructure damage.

Colin Whitley, general manager and CEO of Alfalfa Electric Cooperative in Cherokee, said then his company incurred some $2 million in costs to replace broken poles and downed lines. Alfalfa Electric replaced more than 700 poles.

Cimarron Electric Cooperative in Kingfisher lost more than 800 poles in the blizzard.