Whitmer Declares State Of Emergency For St. Joseph County, Michigan

Aug 24, 2021

Storm damage in Sturgis, after severe thunderstorms and high winds tore through Southwest Michigan the week of Aug. 9.
Credit City of Sturgis

Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer declared a state of emergency for St. Joseph County, Michigan, Tuesday after severe weather earlier this month caused significant damage.

On Aug. 14, St. Joseph County declared a local state of emergency following severe thunderstorms and high winds on Aug. 11-12. The storms caused power outages and hazardous debris that impacted local response and restoration efforts.

 

Last week, State Sen. Kim LaSata –– who represents Berrien, Cass and St. Joseph counties in the state legislature –– called for a state declaration of emergency to assist local officials and families.

 

“Some areas of the 21st District saw up to seven inches of rain and winds between 60 and 70 mph that toppled countless trees, causing extensive property damage and a number of powerlines to fall,” Lasata said in a release. “Great progress has been made. However, despite our best efforts, it is clear more help is needed.

 

By declaring a state of emergency, the governor authorizes the Michigan State Police’s Emergency Management and Homeland Security Division to local agencies with storm cleanup, damage repair and other relief efforts. 

 

Branch and Hillsdale counties also received emergency declarations.

 

(Read the full release from the governor’s office below.)

LANSING, Mich. – Governor Gretchen Whitmer today declared a state of emergency for Branch, Hillsdale and St. Joseph counties to address the impacts of severe thunderstorms and straight-line winds on August 11 and 12. 

 

“Thank you to the first responders and line-workers who have worked diligently to keep our residents safe and restore power to our communities,” said Governor Whitmer. “We will continue to work closely with Branch, Hillsdale and St. Joseph counties and provide needed resources to support recovery efforts.” 

 

By declaring a state of emergency, Governor Whitmer has made available all state resources in cooperation with local response and recovery efforts in the designated area. The declaration authorizes the Michigan State Police, Emergency Management and Homeland Security Division (MSP/EMHSD) to coordinate state efforts above and beyond what MSP/EMHSD has already been doing in conjunction with local agencies. 

 

On August 13, Branch County declared a local state of emergency due to a severe thunderstorm that caused widespread or severe damage. On August 14, St. Joseph County declared a local state of emergency following severe storms that resulted in power outages and hazardous debris impacting emergency response and restoration efforts. On August 16, Hillsdale County declared a local state of emergency due to damage as a result of severe thunderstorms. All three counties requested a governor’s declaration.  

 

The declaration of a local state of emergency activates local emergency response and recovery plans. By requesting a governor’s declaration, the county has determined local resources are insufficient to address the situation and state assistance is required to protect the health, safety and property to lessen or avert the threat of a crisis.