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Whitmer Seeks Presidential Disaster Declaration for those Impacted by Gaylord Tornado


June 8, 2022



Governor Whitmer Seeks Presidential Disaster Declaration to Further Help Residents and Businesses Impacted by Gaylord Tornado

LANSING, Mich. – Governor Gretchen Whitmer today requested that President Joe Biden declare a major disaster for Otsego County following an EF-3 tornado last month. The request comes at the conclusion of an in-depth assessment of damage to the area.

We are doing everything in our power to secure all available assistance for the people of Gaylord as quickly as possible,” said Governor Whitmer. “A presidential declaration would open up additional federal resources necessary to help the Gaylord community recover. Tough times call for tough people, and I know that the Michiganders in Gaylord will get through this. Let’s keep working together to support all of the ongoing efforts to recover and rebuild.”

Governor Whitmer has requested supplementary federal aid in the form of Individual Assistance to help eligible residents. If federal aid is granted, assistance can include grants for temporary housing and home repairs, low-cost loans to cover uninsured property losses and other programs to help people and businesses recover from the effects of the tornado.

“As the tornado broke down buildings in Otsego County, it uprooted families from their homes, disrupted livelihoods of workers at damaged businesses, and, saddest of all, took two lives,” said State Representative Ken Borton, R-Gaylord. “The destruction was awful. I’ve been working closely with others in our community, and we appreciate the support from Governor Whitmer’s administration. A major disaster declaration from the federal government will help us rebuild Gaylord.”

At the governor’s request, the Michigan State Police’s Emergency Management and Homeland Security Division (MSP/EMHSD) conducted a joint Preliminary Damage Assessment with federal and local officials to review and assess the scope of the damage to homes and businesses in the Gaylord area.

The teams conducted their assessments on May 25. State officials reviewed the results and determined the extent of damage and the challenges residents and business owners would face in recovery efforts reached the level necessary to apply for federal aid.

Governor Whitmer’s request will be reviewed by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), which will advise President Biden whether a disaster declaration should be granted. Ultimately, the President will determine whether to provide federal assistance.

About the Disaster On May 20, an EF-3 tornado touched down in Otsego County, impacting infrastructure, and damaging businesses and private property. That same day, Governor Whitmer declared a state of emergency for Otsego County. By declaring a state of emergency, Governor Whitmer made available all state resources in cooperation with local response and recovery efforts in the designated area. 

The declaration authorized the MSP/EMHSD to coordinate state efforts above and beyond what MSP/EMHSD had already been doing in conjunction with local agencies. 

Governor Whitmer's letter to President Biden can be viewed here