FEMA to be in Palm Coast Thursday in wake of tornado


PALM COAST, Fla. – The Federal Emergency Management Agency, state of Florida and local officials will be in Palm Coast neighborhoods affected by last Saturday's tornado beginning Thursday morning to further document damage.

The federal, state and local assessment task force will visit every house damaged by the tornado. FEMA and the state are working with the city of Palm Coast, Flagler County Emergency Management and the Flagler County Property Appraiser. The assessments to begin Thursday are in addition to initial damage assessments conducted by the city.

The task force's documentation will be used to help the community qualify for federal programs to help with recovery and rebuilding. Homeowners and rental occupants do not need to be home at the time of the visits from the assessment task force.

IMAGES: Tornado cleanup | Palm Coast aftermath | Initial damage

In advance of this assessment, the city is asking all property owners in the B, C and F Sections of Palm Coast to inspect their houses for damage, especially if they have not yet had the opportunity. Even minor damage such as loss of shingles and damage from debris should be reported if it has not already been reported or documented by a city damage assessment team.

The number to report damage is the city's customer service number at 386-986-2360.

Based on the results of the assessment by FEMA and the state, qualified residents may be eligible for federal low-interest loans. Those loans, which would have to be re-paid, would provide stop-gap funding to help residents begin repairs before insurance money is received.

The city of Palm Coast was declared to be in a state of local emergency as of Monday. The strong EF1 tornado that cut across the city on Saturday night damaged or destroyed at least 180 homes.

The city's initial damage assessment found that 171 homes were damaged or destroyed; that number continues to grow as homeowners return home or find damage that wasn't immediately apparent.

As of Wednesday morning, the city has documented damage to 180 homes, with the value of the damage now estimated at $5,625,885.50. Of those 180 houses, seven were destroyed, 22 received substantial damage, and 151 sustained partial damage.

Flagler County Volunteer Services has received a number of calls from businesses and individuals who want to volunteer to help with cleanup or make donations of furniture, clothing and household items. Victims of the tornado who would like to receive the assistance of volunteers or donated items should contact Flagler County Volunteer Services at 386-597-2950.

In addition, the American Red Cross is still in Palm Coast assisting residents, as needed. Residents who need assistance should call 386-226-1400, ext. 5250.