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Inslee proclaims state of emergency for 28 counties affected by winter storms

OLYMPIA — Gov. Jay Inslee has proclaimed a state of emergency for 28 counties recovering from the impacts of recent severe winter weather.

The proclamation covers Adams, Asotin, Benton, Chelan, Clallam, Clark, Columbia, Cowlitz, Franklin, Garfield, Grant, Jefferson, King, Kitsap, Klickitat, Lewis, Lincoln, Mason, Pend Oreille, Pierce, Skamania, Snohomish, Spokane, Stevens, Wahkiakum, Walla Walla, Whatcom and Whitman counties.

“The colder, wetter and stormier weather this winter has heavily impacted many communities throughout the state,” Inslee said. “The impacts have been significant, from snow removal and damage to public facilities to transportation interruptions and the opening of shelters to assist those whose power was out or their homes damaged. Staff from appropriate state agencies are working with local officials to quantify the impacts and damages so we can determine whether to request federal assistance.”

In his proclamation, Inslee notes that multiple winter storms from January 30 through February 22 produced high winds, heavy snowfall, ice accumulation and significant rainfall. The storms caused significant power outages, major damage to roads and public utilities, delays and cancellations within the state ferry system and at major airports, and damage to homes and businesses.

The governor’s office said the proclamation will help the Washington State Department of Transportation make emergency repairs to the state’s roadways and request federal financial assistance for them. Damage to roads is estimated at more than $10 million.

The proclamation also allows the governor to potentially request other federal assistance, pending the outcome of ongoing damage assessments in the impacted counties.