Gov. DeWine briefs President Trump; declares state of emergency in Montgomery, Greene, Mercer counties

State help already on ground in tornado-hit areas

President Donald Trump says Gov. Mike DeWine has updated him on the tornado damage that hit the Dayton region Monday night.

DeWine declared a state of emergency in three Ohio counties - Montgomery, Greene, and Mercer counties - that suffered serious damage following severe weather this week.

“My administration fully supports the people of the great state of Ohio as they begin the cleanup and recovery,” President Trump said on Twitter Tuesday afternoon.

Emergency help from state authorities started to flow as soon as the devastating storms moved through the Miami Valley and more assistance for long-term clean up efforts could be teed up as well.

Coordinated by the Emergency Operations Center, state agencies such as the highway patrol, ODOT crews and others stepped up to help.

The Ohio Department of Transportation ran snow plows on Interstate-75 after midnight, clearing debris from the southbound lanes so the road was clear for first responders and others.

Ohio Highway Patrol pilots began surveying damage at daybreak using helicopters and drones. They are also shuttling Gov. Mike DeWine to stops across the Miami Valley, allowing him to see the wreckage first hand.

“As people start putting their lives back together, we’re going to see what federal assistance might be available,” DeWine said on Tuesday.

DeWine Press Secretary Dan Tierney said the damage assessment by the Ohio Emergency Management Agency could take a week or more. Money for clean up and repairs could be requested from the Federal Emergency Management Agency and from the state’s disaster relief fund, Tierney said.

1 dead from Celina tornado, 42 storm-related injuries reported at Dayton-area hospitals

U.S. Sen. Rob Portman, R-Cincinnati, who was touring damaged areas, said on Twitter that he is ready to help the DeWine administration.

“If the state decides to request a national emergency declaration, I will work with (President Trump) to make sure it is approved quickly,” Portman said.

Sen. Sherrod Brown agreed.

“If Governor DeWine decides to seek a national emergency declaration, Senator Portman and I will be working with the President to get these communities the assistance and support they need as fast as possible,” said Brown, D-Ohio.

The president called the storms “very dangerous and damaging.”

“My team continues to update me with reports from emergency managers,” Trump said.

At a stop in Celina, DeWine said he has spoken with Portman and Vice President Mike Pence about the damage and has exchanged text messages with Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley.

“Everyone is on the team, everyone is pulling together,” the governor said. “We’re going to do absolutely everything that we can.”

What does emergency declaration do?

* State agencies to provide resources and support beyond their normal authority, under the direction of the Ohio Emergency Management Agency (EMA).

* Department of Administrative Services (DAS) to suspend state purchasing requirements to support recovery efforts and obtain needed resources such as water and generators more quickly and efficiently.

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