Some of the properties FEMA needs to review are still flooded and inaccessible, so the agency hasn't been able to get a full picture of the damages. More counties could be added later, according to a FEMA spokesman.

Residents in 20 Missouri counties are eligible for federal flood assistance after President Donald Trump declared a major disaster in the state on Tuesday, but Howard and Cooper counties were left out.

The federal declaration included 20 of the 41 counties Missouri requested assistance for, including Chariton, Boone and Cole counties. 

Howard County and Cooper County were not included, though multiple levee breaches in Howard County washed out the bottoms from Petersburg to Rocheport in Boone County. Bottomland and part of Wooldridge were flooded in Cooper County.

Missouri Gov. Mike Parson requested individual assistance for 41 counties on June 24, including both Howard and Cooper counties, based on the results of joint damage assessments between the federal and state emergency management agencies, the U.S. Small Business Administration and local officials.

A disaster declaration would have allowed flood-stricken residents of Cooper and Howard counties to apply for federal aid for temporary housing, housing repairs and replacing damaged property. 

FEMA will continue to assess damages, and could make federal assistance available for more counties, FEMA Region 7 spokesman Michael Cappannari said. He couldn’t immediately give specific information on what FEMA still needs to assess in Howard and Cooper counties.

Only homes that FEMA determines are primary residences that are uninsured or underinsured can qualify for individual assistance, said State Emergency Management Agency spokeswoman Caty Eisterhold in an email. Insurance is the first line of defense for homeowners, so FEMA focuses relief to cover uninsured losses, Cappannari said.

Based on the preliminary assessments, there were four qualifying homes in Cooper County with major damage and one with minor damage, according to numbers Eisterhold provided. In Howard County, there was one qualifying home with major damage, and seven with minor damage.

Saline County, where a levee breach inundated the West Glasgow bottoms, also was left off Tuesday’s declaration, as was Callaway County, where the Missouri River flooded land along U.S. Route 63, and Missouri Route 94. 

The preliminary assessments found four qualifying homes with major damage in Saline County, and three with major damage and two with minor damage in Callaway County. The counts of uninsured losses were highest in Cole County, where FEMA estimated 28 homes were destroyed, 37 sustained major damage, and 174 sustained minor damage. In Boone County, 3 homes were reported destroyed and 2 were reported with major damage.

These numbers are only estimates based on the initial assessment, Eisterhold said. Those numbers will change as homeowners apply for assistance and assessments continue. SEMA is working with FEMA to revisit the 21 counties not included in the Tuesday declaration to see if they are also eligible for assistance, she said.

Officials from state and county emergency management agencies will notify FEMA if it needs to come take a closer look, so homeowners should report their damage to their county EMA, Cappannari said.

FEMA used helicopters to assess damages in areas it couldn’t get to by land, and it’s willing to go back in and reassess any areas that report more damage, he said. Some areas weren’t accessible by land or air, said Eisterhold. 

FEMA is still working on initial assessments for public disaster assistance. Missouri requested assistance for 74 counties, which would help local governments pay to fix flood-damaged infrastructure. So far, FEMA has assessed 61 of those counties, Cappannari said.

The Missouri River has flooded twice this year in central Missouri, the first time in March and again starting about May 1. The second flood, which crested five to six feet higher than the March round of high water, is continuing.

The Missouri River was 27.5 feet at Glasgow on Wednesday morning, 2.5 feet above flood stage. It was 24.2 feet at Boonville, 3.2 feet above flood stage and 24.3 at Jefferson City, 1.3 feet above flood stage.

The crests were 10 to 12 feet above flood stage and major roads, including Highway 40 in southern Howard County, remain closed due to high water.

Anyone in the declared counties who had property damaged by the flood can begin applying for assistance online, or by 1-800-621-FEMA or 1-800-462-7585 for the hearing or speech impaired. The toll free numbers will operate every day from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. until further notice.