April 7, 2009


Heavy rains fell in the Panhandle and Big Bend areas last week, with many locations collecting over 9 inches. Field work is delayed due to the heavy downpour. Many of the fields that were prepared for planting corn and peanuts became flooded. Some growers reported field erosion. Some pastures are flooded and waterlogged from recent heavy rains in the Panhandle and northern areas. Many parts of the Panhandle and North Florida remain under flood warnings as rivers have swelled beyond their banks.

Six state and federal recovery teams are conducting an initial assessment, estimating the cost of damage from the storms. When complete -- and the process is expected to take several days -- the damage reports will be used to determine if any federal disaster assistance is warranted. "Based upon the counties' initial damage reports, we wanted to move forward with the joint assessment, said Ruben Almaguer, deputy director of the state's Division of Emergency Management. "We will then review the new data and forward our recommendations on potential federal requests to the governor." The teams will visit Santa Rosa, Okaloosa, Holmes, Walton, Washington and Jackson counties.

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