GRANITE CITY — Madison County officials will be taking stock this weekend of damage caused by flash flooding to Granite City homes and businesses.
Last month, approximately 9 inches of rain dumped on the Granite City area, causing severe flash flooding in Chouteau, Nameoki, Granite City and Venice townships. The “freak” storm damaged more than 1,000 homes and left many residents with flooded yards and basements, or homeless. Now, the city is trying to get a handle on the extent of the damage.
“We didn’t have a lot of public infrastructure that was damaged, it was just so much rain in so little time causing damage to homes and businesses,” said Tony Falconia, interim director of the Madison County Emergency Management Agency. “That’s what we’re going to do damage assessments on.”
Homes and businesses that are assessed will then apply for a loan through the Small Business Administration. Falconia stressed, as with any application, not all will be eligible.
“This is no guarantee,” he said. “It’s part of the process.”
Falconio said the flash flooding was an “oddity,” due to the sheer amount of rain that was dumped onto the area. He said he couldn’t think of a city that’s drainage system could handle 9 inches of rain in a few hours.
“It was definitely an oddity. It was a freak of nature,” Falconio said. “Granite City has some older infrastructure but any time you get over 9 inches of rain in a few hours you’re going to have flooding.”
Damage assessment teams are expected to begin reviewing properties damaged during the flooding on Friday. Falconia said teams will be speaking with homeowners about the extent of the damage caused by the storm.
The assessments will take place over the weekend and only the exterior of the structures will be inspected.
Falconio said residents don’t need to be home but said that if they are it would be helpful.
“We understand people may not be home,” Falconia said. “If you’re not home, don’t worry about it. “
In August, city officials asked residents and business owners to call 211 to report damage to their their properties while the local United way collected data provided to the county EMA to determine assessment areas.
Falconio said while 211 information is helpful, it isn’t the only information the county is using. He said residents can be assured that if they have damage, the EMA will assess their properties.
He said after the assessments are done, home and business owners will have an opportunity to apply for loans to help get them “back on their feet.”
The county is seeking to apply for assistance from the Small Business Administration for low-interest loans for those affected by the flash flooding. Falconia said those loans are aimed to help families and businesses recover from disasters.
Kavahn Mansouri covers government accountability for the Belleville News-Democrat, holding officials and institutions accountable and tracking how taxpayer money is spent.
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