State looks to assess storm damage across Nebraska, assist communities

GRAND ISLAND, Neb. (KSNB) - Governor Pete Ricketts said his office is working closely with local emergency managers and other state agencies to help communities affected by flooding and snow.

Gov. Ricketts issued an emergency declaration on Tuesday to prepare for the severe weather we've had all across Nebraska.

Ricketts said they're now relying on local emergency managers to tell them what they need.

"They're the local eyes on the ground that really know what they need in their communities, and that's who we're working with as well as coordinating with the other state agencies, like the Nebraska Department of Transportation, the State Patrol, the National Guard, all to make sure we're there to provide the assistance for communities that need it," Ricketts said.

He drove into Grand Island late Thursday morning to attend the Grand Island Chamber of Commerce's annual meeting.

Grand Island didn't get hit quite as hard by the snow and rain as some other areas in Nebraska, but people and trucks were still out plowing the roads and sidewalks.

Ricketts said he was in York before Grand Island, and they drove through some freezing rain on the way up.

"After we get through this weather event, we'll start working with local communities with regard to their damage, and we'll make a decision with regard to a federal disaster request," Ricketts said.

He said they don't know how much damages will cost the state at this time.

Ricketts said their main focus right now is assistance and recovery for all the affected areas.