Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

November 20, 2013

State officials begin damage assessment

Data will help governor decide on federal aid appeal.

By Scott Smith Kokomo Tribune
Kokomo Tribune

---- — State Emergency Management Agency officials sent four teams to Howard County Tuesday to assess damage from three tornadoes which ripped through the area Sunday.

In all, 20 state inspectors were in four counties Tuesday as part of a statewide effort to catalog damage from more than 20 tornadoes which hit the state Sunday, Indiana Department of Homeland Security spokesman John Erickson said.

The assessment is a prelude to a governor-level decision on whether to ask for federal disaster aid and will possibly be completed by the end of the week, Erickson said.

Local emergency management officials completed an initial assessment Monday, estimating some 300 homes and commercial properties were hit, and up to 60 homes destroyed. Up to 30 businesses may have been destroyed as well, Kokomo Mayor Greg Goodnight said Monday.

Erickson said the state assessment works as confirmation of the local totals. Every damaged property is put into one of four categories: affected, minor, major or destroyed.

The Howard County portion of the assessment should be finished by Wednesday, and local officials are urging anyone affected to go to the Indiana Department of Homeland Security website, www.in.gov/dhs, and fill out a damage assessment under the “Report Damage from Severe Weather - November 17” link.

“We’d like to know where we’re at as fast as we can, but we want to do a thorough job,” Erickson said.