Copper Country, western U.P. cruelly battered by storms

This time, it’s personal.

It’s not that the other natural disasters, hurricanes, river floods, wildfires in distant locations our nation has experienced in recent years were impersonal. Obviously, when any American is against the wall, the rest of us feel badly and wonder what we can do.

But the severe thunderstorm that passed through the western Upper Peninsula and Copper Country late Saturday night and Sunday morning, dropping huge amounts rain on a landscape rent asunder, was different, wrecking the homes, health and happiness of people we know and care about.

This time, it’s personal.

With little doubt, it’ll be weeks or much longer before the damage is totaled up. Don’t be surprised if the bottom line, with everything considered, tops $1 billion. That’s billion with a B. For the time being, just getting hundreds and hundreds of displaced and otherwise stressed people the basics is job one. The Red Cross was in early with emergency provisions while local officials wasted no time setting up shelters that provided food and water.

For their part, state officials have been active, with Michigan State Police coordinating from an emergency center. Local police agencies and emergency responders were busy and late Monday afternoon, Gov. Rick Snyder declared Menominee and Houghton counties disaster areas, allowing the use of National Guard troops to assist with road repairs and other duties in the affected areas.

At this writing, it was unclear if Snyder would ask President Donald Trump to issue a Major Disaster Declaration, opening the way for a variety of federal programs including temporary housing, low-interest loans and grants, counseling for post-disaster trauma and other services.

In the coming days, weeks and months, we expect a number of good-faith fundraisers to crop up to support the people most impacted. We’d recommend readers give them serious consideration.

Because, as we said earlier, this time, it’s personal.