Prince George’s County officials are estimating that this past month’s violent storms caused $7.3 million in damages and economic losses.
The storms that hit June 22 and 29 damaged buildings and led to extra staffing costs to deal with the aftermath, said Scott Peterson, a county government spokesman. The storms kept first responders and other county personnel busy handling recovery efforts well into July, officials said.
“They all live for this, but not back-to-back,” said Ronald Gill, deputy director of the county’s department of homeland security.
Although the county still is gathering information on the storm’s impact, much of the damage on public property appears to be covered by insurance, Peterson said.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency requires about $7 million worth of uninsured damage to public infrastructure or extraordinary staffing for the state to be eligible for federal assistance, said Ed McDonough, spokesman for the Maryland Emergency Management Agency.
“Your normal staffing won’t be covered but what they’ll be looking at is if you kept people on for 12-hour shifts instead of 10-hour shifts in response,” McDonough said.
The state government still is putting together its package quantifying the cost of the storms, McDonough said.
“There’s no hard deadline,” he said. “We would like to do it as soon as possible.”
FEMA in general doesn’t give out the threshold that each county would have to hit in order to receive assistance, said Peter Herrick, a spokesman with FEMA’s region three office, which oversees the Mid-Atlantic region.
County agencies are paying the price for the overtime cost and extra staffing and equipment out of their current budgets, said Thomas Himler, deputy chief administrative officer for budget, finance and administration. Because the storms spanned the end and beginning of fiscal years, the costs are being paid for with money from the fiscal 2012 budget, which ended June 30, and the current fiscal 2013 budget.
“We continue to monitor [their finances] and will determine whether any adjustment needs to be made,” Himler said of county agencies that drew money from their budgets for storm recovery efforts.
Whether the state, as a whole, will be able to qualify for federal assistance, which allows for reimbursement of 75 percent of the cost of dealing with a storm, is unclear, McDonough said. MEMA still is gathering data on the costs from counties across the state to make that determination, McDonough said.
The microburst — a short intense burst of strong winds that was accompanied by rain and hail June 22 — caused roughly $3.5 million in structural damage, said Samuel Wynkoop, director of the county’s Department of Environmental Resources. The microburst, which was primarily centered on Bladensburg, Hyattsville and surrounding areas, caused more structural damage than the more recent thunderstorms that affected thousands of residences across the mid-Atlantic region, Wynkoop said.
The DER determined the June 29 thunderstorms that hit Maryland, Virginia and Washington, D.C., caused about $3.3 million in immediate structural damage in Prince George’s, Wynkoop said.
County officials have not been able to break down the additional costs involved in the total damage estimate.
The June 29 storm also caused power outages that left thousands of residents and businesses in the dark, which Wynkoop estimated caused a financial impact of about $10 million in total for county residents and businesses.