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Arlington Seeks FEMA Assistance Following Late-June Derecho

So far, county estimates storm cost about $800,000.

Arlington County is working with the Federal Emergency Management Agency to recover costs associated with .

So far, the damage estimate is at about $800,000, said Jack Brown, director of the county's Office of Emergency Management.

Most of that — about $600,000 — covers overtime, comp time and equipment for county departments during the week that followed the storm. The high-wind storm also caused an estimated $200,000 to the Arlington County Trades Center, a 40-acre facility next to Four Mile Run that serves as a staging area for the local government's vehicles and equipment, and to the Long Branch Nature Center at 625 S. Carlin Springs Road.

The costs have not been finalized, Brown said.

"There are still costs coming to us as we go through debris removal and go through data," he said. "It's an ongoing process. And (FEMA) understands that. They've assured us they will help us get every penny of eligible cost. And they're very careful to say 'eligible' costs."

FEMA has set a threshold of about $704,000 for Arlington County, a number based on population. When storm damage crosses that threshold, the county becomes eligible for federal assistance.

That allows the county to begin the process of proving that the damage exceeds the federal threshold, and then FEMA has the option of accepting or denying all or part of the county's claim.

Arlington County was able to recover all of the expenses it submitted for a 48-hour period following the intense February 2010 snowstorm that some area residents dubbed "snowmageddon."

It took about a year to recover that $1.6 million, Brown said. Some other Northern Virginia jurisdictions are still working through the process.
For the snow storm, FEMA only allowed local jurisdictions to claim costs during a two-day period. 

County officials met with FEMA last week to discuss damage from the derecho. The federal agency has not given the local government any time limitations on that event, Brown said. 

"There are costs that span a week or even longer when you start talking about debris removal," he said. "We haven't been given any time constraints yet. And we don't anticipate any."

A year ago today, a 5.8-magnitude earthquake struck tiny Mineral, Va., .

So far, Arlington County doesn't anticipate damage associated with that event will meet FEMA's $704,000 threshold, Brown said.

In July, the Arlington County Board awarded a $284,000 contract to repair earthquake-related damage to the Ballston Fire Station at 4805 Wilson Blvd.

The Court Square West building, near the county administration offices at 2100 Clarendon Blvd. in the Courthouse neighborhood, also sustained damage during the earthquake.

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