President George Bush late Friday declared a federal emergency status for northwest Iowa, saying that federal help is needed to supplement state and local efforts in response to near-record snow from February 28-March 2, which in turn led to flooding.
The White House in a statement to the Pilot-Tribune indicated that Buena Vista County, as well as Clay, O'Brien, Pocahontas, Palo Alto and Sac County in the local area have been declared emergency status. Several other counties in the surrounding region are included, such as Carroll County, where more than a foot of snow fell.
About eight inches of snow during the period was whipped into drifts six feet high in Buena Vista County, paralyzing local transportation and business for much of a 48-hour period.
The action means that federal assistance is available to state and local governments on a cost-sharing basis to offset the costs of emergency efforts that have been needed to protect property, health and public safety during the storm period.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) immediately responded to the presidential declaration by naming a coordinating officer, Carlos Mitchell, to lead recovery operations in the area.