FEBRUARY 3, 2010
GOVERNOR PATERSON REQUESTS FEDERAL DISASTER AID FOR DECEMBER BLIZZARD AFFECTING SUFFOLK AND NASSAU COUNTIES
Governor David A. Paterson today announced that he has asked President Barack Obama to declare a major federal disaster for Suffolk and Nassau counties as a result of the December 18-20 blizzard which resulted in a record snowfall on Long Island.
"The threat posed to the public by the blizzard required the immediate and sustained efforts of all snow removal equipment available throughout the New York City metropolitan region," Governor Paterson said. "The efforts to remove the widespread deep and drifting snow have devastated local and State budgets already decimated by the November storm. Over the past year, the State has been struggling to recover from devastation caused by multiple federal disasters including the December 2008 ice storm, last summer's severe flooding in Western New York, and most recently the November storm."
The President already approved federal disaster assistance for Nassau and Suffolk counties as a result of the severe erosion and damages to the protective barrier beaches and electric infrastructure sustained during the November 12-14 nor'easter.
According to the National Weather Service, more than 27 inches of snow fell in Suffolk County during the mid-December storm. Strong gusting winds reduced visibility to nearly zero, and caused drifts that stranded motorists along highways and back roads. Local governments and State police conducted rescue operations as the State Department of Transportation and local road crews struggled to open roads throughout the Long Island and New York City metropolitan area. Nassau and Suffolk counties declared States of Emergency.
The Governor is specifically requesting funding through the Public Assistance program of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and implementation of the Hazard Mitigation program to provide funding for project to avoid repetitive losses in the future.
As the winter storm approached on December 18, the Governor executed the State's Comprehensive Emergency Management Plan; dispatched State agency personnel and equipment to the affected areas; and activated the State's Emergency Operations Center in Albany. He named John R. Gibb, Director of the State Emergency Management Office as coordinating officer for this event.