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County Report: Biden's Declaration To Have 'Indirect Impact' On Flagstaff Flood Aid

Angela Gervasi KNAU

Coconino County officials say a disaster declaration from President Joe Biden will have “an indirect impact” on the county and the city of Flagstaff. 

Biden on Monday issued a disaster declaration for flooding that swept through northern Arizona this summer. The action allows certain federal funds to be allocated within Coconino, Apache, and Navajo counties for aid and repair efforts. 

The declaration applies to flooding sustained between July 22 and July 24. 

Over those three days, a total of 2.67 in. precipitation was recorded in Flagstaff, according to data from the National Weather Service. However, Flagstaff’s public infrastructure did not sustain damage from flooding during those days, according to a Tuesday statement from Coconino County.

Particularly severe flooding impacted Flagstaff on Aug. 17, when more than 3 in. fell on one part of the Museum Fire Burn Scar, prompting what county officials called a “200 to 500 year rainfall event.” 

Tuesday’s statement also informed residents that Biden’s disaster declaration does not pave the way for residents to receive FEMA Individual Assistance or disaster loans from the Small Business Administration.

As of Sept. 8, the monsoon season has damaged 255 homes, causing a total of $12.6 million on public and private property, the county told KNAU this month.

In late July, the county received a grant of about $600,000 from the U.S. Department of Agriculture for channel stabilization in the area. 

However, at an engineering summit held last month, County Deputy Director Lucinda Andreani said flood prevention would be difficult in the Museum Burn Scar area. 

"We will not be able to design to every storm. It is not physically possible, it’s just not feasible," she said. "What we do will help reduce the impacts during larger storms, but it won’t eliminate those impacts."