Washington State Governor Jay Inslee wrote to President Donald Trump on Wednesday to request a major disaster declaration and federal money to help counties across the state recover from severe storms at the start of the year. A total of 15 counties experienced snow, high winds, flooding, landslides, mudslides, and other extreme weather between January 30 and February 22.
“These winter storms caused injuries, power outages impacting 100,000 customers, and other significant disruptions around the state,” Inslee wrote in his letter. “Cleaning up and repairing damages will take months to years, and our local communities will benefit greatly from federal assistance.”
Adams, Benton, Columbia, Franklin, Grant, King, Lewis, Lincoln, Pend Oreille, Skamania, Spokane, Snohomish, Wahkiakum, Walla Walla, and Whatcom counties all incurred damages as a result of the storms.
Some of the storm-related destruction includes infrastructure damage at South Columbia Basin Irrigation District, a "complete break of the Town of Pe Ell’s main waterline," and the wrecking of systems and equipment at the King County’s West Point Wastewater Treatment facility, which resulted in "millions of gallons of untreated or partially treated wastewater flowing into Puget Sound."
"This was not the usual winter," Inslee wrote in his letter.
In fact, this winter was described as "the coldest winter in a generation for the Pacific Northwest." The National Weather Service (NWS) Accumulated Winter Season Severity Index (AWSSI) placed the Seattle Area (Western Washington) as "severe winter conditions and Eastern Washington/Eastern Oregon/Idaho as extreme winter". Extreme is the highest rating as the index considers such parameters as cold and snow and how conditions have deviated from normal.
Here's more from a media release about Inslee's request to Trump:
The governor is asking the president to approve the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s public assistance program. It can help eligible, impacted jurisdictions in the identified counties pay for emergency response costs, debris removal and permanent repairs to damaged public infrastructure.
If the president agrees to the governor’s request, this storm would be the fifth major disaster declared in the state in less than two years.