WLBT-TV Jackson

State congressional delegation asking president to approve federal disaster declaration for Feb. storms

By Anthony Warren

JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - Mississippi’s Washington delegation has thrown its support behind the state’s request for disaster assistance following the winter storms that ripped through the area in February.

On April 16, all members of the state’s delegation signed on to a letter asking President Joe Biden to approve the state’s request for a major disaster declaration due to the “extreme winter weather that hit the state of Mississippi.”

The state submitted its application earlier this week, saying that 31 counties were impacted by the storms, which led to widespread power outages, icy road conditions, and damage to numerous municipal water treatment systems.

Those counties would be able to receive federal aid to rebuild if the declaration is approved by the president.

Congressional leaders are urging Biden to sign, citing the storms as another blow to a state already suffering from COVID-19 and last year’s active hurricane season.

“Federal support to state and local officials in Mississippi is necessary to ensure a complete recovery,” the letter states.

Congressional leaders go on to add that joint preliminary damage assessments conducted by the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency and the Federal Emergency Management Agency showed that nearly $25 million in damage occurred across Magnolia State as a result of the winter storms. Additionally, six Mississippians lost their lives.

At the height of the crisis, 170,224 customers lost power and 56 boil water notices were issued.

In Jackson, some 43,000 customers experienced low or no water pressure as a result of the severe weather, which crippled operations at the O.B. Curtis Water Treatment Plant.

The letter was signed by Sens. Roger Wicker and Cindy Hyde-Smith, and Reps. Bennie Thompson, Steven Palazzo, Trent Kelly and Michael Guest.