Washington’s U.S. Lawmakers Urge President Joe Biden to Declare Winter Storms a Disaster, Funnel Funding to State; Lewis County Reports $2.8 Million in Costs


After winter storms resulted in $21 million of damage across Washington, the state’s U.S. lawmakers joined together this month to urge President Joe Biden to comply with Gov. Jay Inslee’s request for federal funding.

Specifically, the state’s entire delegation urged Biden to approve a statewide federal emergency disaster declaration and free up assistance from the Hazard Mitigation Grant Program for 16 counties, including Lewis County.

“The severe winter storm system produced high winds and significant precipitation, resulting in the flooding of 15 rivers, landslides, and mudslides, coastal and inland flooding, road closures, and widespread power outages for more than 500,000 metered customers,” the 12 lawmakers wrote, also referencing two fatalities that occurred due to the storms in December and January. “These disasters have stretched our state’s emergency management and recovery resources thin and have further devastated communities impacted by a historically destructive wildfire season and the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.”

In Lewis County, January’s floods were estimated to cost the county $2.8 million, largely due to multiple landslides. Power outages impacted Arbor Health Morton Hospital and “greatly impacted essential delivery routes and timely emergency response,” according to reports from the county.