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Jefferson County still cleaning up winter ice storm damage nearly two months later

KATV Little Rock/Pine Bluff 3/24/2023 Desmond Nugent
© Provided by KATV Little Rock/Pine Bluff

Severe weather is expected to hit the state Friday afternoon, despite multiple counties who are continuing clean up efforts from an ice storm last month

Governor Sanders this week requested a presidential disaster declaration for 13 counties from the storm in January and February. One Jefferson County official told KATV how much money they are hoping to receive from the federal government. 

Jefferson County Emergency Management Director, Karen Blevins said it's going on nearly two months since the ice storm hit the county.  She said there many huge trees in the area that have yet to be pick up and it's going to take awhile after doing damage assessments for the county and with the state. 

"We had 260 county roads that was affected with downed trees and limbs and close to 200 city streets," Blevins said. 

According to Blevins, many tree limbs and debris are at a county dumpsite. She said the clean up efforts are not over. Blevins said there were about 25 homes were reported to sustain damage, majority were minor. 

"We have started doing some cleanup, but it just takes awhile, especially when you have these bigger trees that the county or the city will come in," she said. "They're not going to come up on the private property too cut tress down. They will clear it out of the right of way."

Blevins told KATV they have $650,000 in estimated damages. She said they are hoping to get reimbursed 75 percent of those funds that will go towards the county. 

"At this point we don't know if we're gonna have any assistance for the individuals, this will probably just go to the county and the cities," Blevins said. 

Edward Woods is a Jefferson County resident who has lived in his home for 34 years. He told KATV this the second time a a large tree came down due to weather on his property. 

"It's very inconvenient because of all the leaves they put down, a lot of leaves," Woods said. 

Woods said at 77 years old he can't move tree limbs or heavy things around as much anymore. 

"It's a task because it's 3.29 acres and that's, well I'm not as young as I was when I first moved here," he said. 

Blevins said the last time they received presidential disaster funds was nearly two years ago.  

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