Obama signs disaster declaration for December's wind and rain storms

SEATTLE (AP) — President Barack Obama has signed a disaster declaration for damage done by December wind and rain storms, making federal assistance available in 10 Washington counties.

Gov. Jay Inslee thanked Obama Tuesday for signing the declaration, the second in a month for the state. The pronouncement covers damage between Dec. 1-14, when rainfall exceeded 20 inches in parts of the Olympic Mountains and up to 10 inches in lowland areas. More than two dozen rivers exceeded flood stage, while landslides made dozens of roads impassable.

The storm also is responsible for producing a tornado in Clark County, which damaged 36 homes and two commercial buildings. Inslee says the storms caused over $19 million in damages.

The designation makes the Federal Emergency Management Agency's Public Assistance program available for Clallam, Clark, Cowlitz, Grays Harbor, Jefferson, Lewis, Mason, Pacific, Skamania and Wahkiakum counties.