One week after severe flooding in Natrona County, FEMA announces it will assess damage
On the evening of Thursday, June 15, Casper city workers warned that bad flooding may occur when the rain started. They were not wrong. The combination of rain and melting snow created flash floods.
“We had one house we're aware of, that actually floated off its foundation,” said Casper Mayor Bruce Knell. “We had to close some underpasses for some time, over a 24-hour period.”
Knell said the city declared a disaster on Friday, June 16, which was the second day of rain. Natrona County followed 20 minutes or so afterwards. He said this was done to help free up some funding as quickly as possible for those affected.
“Because with that disaster declaration, their insurance told them that they will kick in, and we'll start helping them. So, I think that's helpful,” Knell said.
On Friday, June 23, a week after the storms, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) announced they will come in to conduct damage assessments. Those assessments will help determine the extent of the damage and the amount federal support the area will need.
This past winter’s heavy snowfall melting combined with heavy rain created the severe flooding.
“We haven't seen flooding like this in the Natrona County area in almost 100 years. So it's certainly an anomaly. Our weather patterns are definitely changing,” he said.
Knell said the weather is returning to what it was like in the 70s, but now ”we have more people. Now we have bigger populations and more strain on the services. And so when something like this happens, that can be rather disastrous.”
The city and county is asking those who were impacted by flooding in any way to let them know so governments can better ascertain the damage.