FEMA clears county for aid

The interior of the Patrick Lynch Public Library. / photo by Katelyn Howard
Ken Milam
News Editor

The Federal Emergency Management Agency announced Wednesday that federal disaster assistance has been made available to help recovery efforts from damage caused by storms and flooding from May 16 to 20.

LeFlore County is one of 16 counties eligible for the funds.

A May 20 storm overloaded the sewage system at Patrick Lynch Public Library in Poteau, causing flooding and forcing the facility to close.

The city has applied for FEMA assistance to help with the costs, estimated at $280,000.

A temporary library is operating out of the Donald W. Reynolds Community Center while repairs are completed.

The FEMA order makes funds available to state, tribal and eligible local governments and certain private nonprofit organizations on a cost-sharing basis for emergency work and the repair or replacement of facilities damaged by the storms and flooding.

Federal funding is also available on a cost-sharing basis for hazard mitigation measures statewide.

Charles Maskell has been named as the federal coordinating officer for federal recovery operations in the affected area. Maskell said additional designations may be made at a later date if warranted by the results of damage assessments. 

Other eligible counties include Alfalfa, Beckham, Cherokee, Coal, Cotton, Delaware, Johnston, Murray, Muskogee, Okfuskee, Okmulgee, Pittsburg, Pontotoc, Roger Mills and Washita.

The storms caused extensive flooding, power outages and dangerous travel conditions in the affected counties. Thirty-eight tornadoes were reported from May 16-20, including three EF2 tornadoes near Elk City, Hanna and Muskogee. One death and multiple injuries were attributed to the storm.

Damage assessments indicate the storms resulted in more than $6.5 million in losses.