A team of state, local, and Federal Emergency Management Agency or FEMA officials are conducting a preliminary assessment of damage (PDA) from the Oct. 4th blizzard.
"That way we know that we're all looking at the same data," said FEMA External Affairs Officer, Phil Wernisch." "So that we have a very good idea that we're as accurate as we can be when he [Daugaard] makes his damage assessment."
The assessment is an essential step toward seeking and receiving presidential disaster declaration.
This collective team is one of several working to determine how much damage to public infrastructures occurred during the blizzard. The assessment is being done in 15 counties, as well as on the Pine Ridge and Cheyenne River Indian reservations.
The PDA teams assess damage to all public infrastructure and to property of private non-profit entities, including the rural electric cooperatives. Governor Dennis Daugaard will use the results to determine whether a request for presidential disaster declarations is required.
"Each team is going to look at damage to get an idea of the scope of the damage," said Wernisch. "And to determine whether it's beyond capability of the state and local government to be able to recover."
If President Obama grants such a request, up to 75 percent of eligible costs could be reimbursed by the federal government. The Governor's request does not guarantee federal funding will be made available to South Dakota.