Byrne to tour Baldwin County flood damage

BALDWIN COUNTY, Ala. (WALA) – Congressman Bradley Byrne got an aerial tour of the flooding in Baldwin County Friday morning.

After viewing the damage, Byrne and other county officials said more than two thousand homes were damaged.

RECORD FLOODING

It’s hard to imagine that the people who live along Fish River will ever forget this week.

Some twenty inches of rain fell in the Silverhill area of Baldwin County alone.

That led to the Fish River reaching a record level of more than 23 and a half feet.

Friday morning, Congressman Bradley Byrne, Baldwin Emergency Management Director Mitchell Sims and County Commissioner Tucker Dorsey flew over hard hit areas.

As far as whether there is enough damage to meet the requirements of declaring a federal disaster area, Byrne said, “We well exceed the minimums for FEMA, so there’s no question that we need a declaration.”

WILL THERE BE A DECLARATION?

But, there is some question as to whether it will be declared.

Byrne said, “No, its not an automatic thing, and, unfortunately, we have years of experience here with federal declarations.”

That’s why Byrne said he’s working with local officials to get damage estimates to FEMA as quickly as possible.

Sims said, “Just in the county alone, there was probably over $9 million in damage to homes, and probably $2 million or $3 million in damage to infrastructure.”

And, Sims said those are the early estimates in the county, not including cities.

COUNTY HAS EMERGENCY MONEY

County Commissioner Tucker Dorsey said the county does have enough emergency money on hand to fix roads.

Dorsey said, “We have a regular meeting on Tuesday, but I think we’re going to meet Monday to approve the contracts for some of these larger washouts.

Specifically, I think we’re bidding those out in packages. (We’ve) got to quantify them, give the contractors a weekend to look at them.”

But, a federal disaster declaration would allow the county to get reimbursed.

The big push now begins.

Dorsey said to fix roads alone in Baldwin County, he estimates it will take at least $5 million.

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