President Barack Obama signed off on South Carolina major disaster declaration request Wednesday and ordered federal aid in 21 counties hit hardest by a winter storm last month.
The storm caused an estimated $435 million in damage -- $360 million to the timber industry, $55 million to government agencies and utilities and $20 million in insured losses.
Federal money now will be available to pay for emergency work and repairs from the Feb. 10-14 storm.
The federal government will pay 75 percent of bills. How the rest will be paid is undetermined, the S.C. Emergency Management Division said.
The counties receiving aid are: Aiken, Allendale, Bamberg, Barnwell, Berkeley, Calhoun, Chesterfield, Clarendon, Colleton, Dillon, Dorchester, Edgefield, Florence, Georgetown, Hampton, Horry, Marion, Orangeburg, Saluda, Sumter and Williamsburg.
State agencies, local governments and some non-profits also could get federal money for work that reduces damage risks in future disasters, state emergency officials said.
Gov. Nikki Haley made the aid request after the second devastating winter storm to hit South Carolina in two week.