Gov. Jay Nixon requested May 5 a major disaster declaration for the state of Missouri from President Barack Obama, as a result of the high winds, tornadoes and severe flooding that have affected the state since April 19.
"The last two to three weeks have seen large-scale destruction in Missouri, in terms of homes, businesses, farms and other property," Gov. Nixon said. "Many families and businesses have suffered because of this severe weather. Counties, communities and the state also have been burdened with extremely high costs to protect citizens and property, and will have high expenses for repairing damage to infrastructure and public buildings. I am asking the President to issue a major disaster declaration that would provide assistance both to individuals and public agencies."
Joint damage assessments have been conducted in the City of St. Louis, St. Louis County and St. Charles County, which sustained tornado damage, and are currently underway in 38 counties impacted by flooding along numerous rivers and streams.
Gov. Nixon's request is for the following counties and the City of St. Louis: Barry, Bollinger, Butler, Cape Girardeau, Carter, Christian, Douglas, Dunklin, Howell, Iron, Lawrence, Madison, Maries, McDonald, Mississippi, New Madrid, Newton, Oregon, Ozark, Pemiscot, Perry, Phelps, Pike, Polk, Pulaski, Reynolds, Ripley, St. Charles, St. Francois, St. Louis, Scott, Shannon, Stoddard, Stone, Taney, Texas, Washington, Wayne, Webster and Wright.
Gov. Nixon declared a state of emergency in Missouri effective April 22. That order activated the State Emergency Operations Center and enabled the state to mobilize its resources -- including the State Emergency Management Agency, the National Guard and Highway Patrol -- to assist local authorities. Since that time, more than 750 members of the National Guard have been mobilized to provide assistance where needed, and some 150 Highway Patrol troopers have been assigned to help with the flooding response in southern and southeast Missouri.
The Missouri Department of Insurance has an informative website for citizens needing to make insurance claims for flood damage. The online resources include details for how flood damage is covered, depending on whether it affects homes, cars or crops.
Most homeowners and renters insurance policies don't cover flood damage. To be covered, consumers need a policy through the National Flood Insurance Program. Policies have a 30-day waiting period before they're effective. Consumers with coverage should contact the agent who sold them their flood insurance policy, or the National Flood Insurance Program at floodsmart.gov or 888-379-9531.
Some types of crop insurance cover flood damage to crops. These policies are sold by private insurance companies, but regulated by the federal Risk Management Agency. Most policies require claims to be filed within 72 hours of discovering damage. Farmers with crop damage should contact their crop insurance agent as soon as possible. They can also contact the Risk Management Agency at rma.usda.gov or call 202-690-2803.
"As with any kind of property damage, filing a claim quickly is vital," said Missouri Insurance Director John Huff. "While the flood and crop insurance programs are administered by the federal government, your local insurance agent should be able to help you navigate the claims process."