Coal co. among 16 OK counties to receive FEMA aid

By: Victoria Maranan Email
By: Victoria Maranan Email

COAL CO, OK-Over a month after severe storms ripped through the state of Oklahoma, FEMA agreed to provide assistance to 16 counties that were hit the hardest. Some of those counties are right here in Texoma.

May's severe weather caused about $40 million in damages across the state. In Coal county, the storms heavily damaged 26 homes and uprooted dozens of trees. Officials and a resident tell us how the FEMA money will help them recover.

May 20th, 2013 Mike Linton and his family rushed into the cellar just minutes before a possible tornado touched down in the community of Lehigh. After the storm passed, Linton saw his roof was ripped off and his trailer rolled over more than ten feet from where it was standing.

"It's pretty amazing to see what wind can do really and the travel trailer, it pretty much demolished it," he said.

Linton said despite the beating his home took in the storm, he's just glad no one was hurt.

"I'm thankful everybody's in the storm shelter really, nobody got hurt. It's a house, it can be replaced, cars can be replaced but family can't be replaced so we're pretty fortunate," he said.

Crews are still cleaning up the damage over a month after the storm and the roof of several homes are still covered in tarp.

Coal County Emergency JManager, Aaron Blue, said they have been busy cleaning up and doing repairs since May's storm. He said 26 homes, including Linton's, were heavily damaged.

"We still have lots of trees and debris from just the tornado damage in the Lehigh area and then we have lots of straight line wind damages in the Coalgate area and south of Lehigh also," he said. "I'm gonna estimate that we've exceeded the $75,000 mark in our cleanup all over Coal county."

But help from the government is on the way.

Governor Mary Fallin announced Monday that FEMA has approved assistance for the 16 counties hit the hardest by recent severe weather and tornadoes, and that includes Coal. Blue said this funding will help them rebuild.

"It's great, you know, our guys were out working hard all night long in the 20th and all day long on the 21st and 22nd trying to take care of roads," he said.

"It's good to know that we're actually gonna get some help in this area. There's a lot of people that can use it," said Linton.

Blue said FEMA will determine how much funding Coal county will receive after they survey the damage in two weeks.

Other counties in our area also listed to receive federal aid are Atoka and Pushmataha counties.


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