October 2, 2018
Albany, NY

Governor Cuomo Announces Federal Approval For Major Disaster Declaration Due to Severe Storms and Flooding

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Public Assistance Granted to Seven Counties for Damages from August Flash Flooding

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Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced a major disaster declaration has been issued for seven counties that sustained damages during severe storms and flash flooding that occurred from August 13-15, 2018. With this declaration, FEMA has validated state and local government estimates that more than $36 million in response costs and infrastructure damage was incurred following the storms. This approval, indicating that these counties have reached the necessary threshold for federal funding, is the next step toward gaining financial assistance from the federal government to allow local communities to continue to recover. This assistance can be used towards funding for emergency protective measures, debris removal, and repairs to public infrastructure.

The seven counties are Broome, Chemung, Chenango, Delaware, Schuyler, Seneca, and Tioga.

"Extreme weather is the new normal and all levels of government need to reorient to best help those impacted by increasingly frequent storms," Governor Cuomo said. "The state is committed to supporting every stage of the recovery process, and this declaration is critical to getting the assistance we need to help these communities build back."
 
"Local and state agencies are continuing efforts to return residents to a sense of normalcy," said Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services Commissioner Roger L. Parrino, Sr. "I am pleased the federal government has recognized Governor Cuomo's request for federal assistance as essential to the recovery process. I would like to thank FEMA Region II for their on-the-ground-partnership."

National Weather Service data indicates these regions received between 10 and 20 inches of rain during the 30-day period beginning July 22, 2018. The August storms near the end of this period produced heavy rainfall, flash flooding, and strong winds, and combined with ground saturated by this abnormally wet period for the region, produced significant damage across the Finger Lakes and Southern Tier Regions.

The Governor declared a State of Emergency on August 14, and local States of Emergency were also declared by nine local governments due to the severity of the storm. Widespread power outages impacted more than 1,500 homes and businesses in the area and state and local first responders rescued and evacuated more than 200 people from campgrounds in the Finger Lakes Region. 

As a result of the damage caused by these storms, Governor Cuomo requested technical assistance in the form of a Joint Preliminary Damage Assessment on August 24, 2018. Results of this PDA validated State and County expenditures of more than $36 million in response and recovery efforts.

The federal government makes funding available to state and eligible local governments and certain private nonprofit organizations on a cost-sharing basis for emergency work and the repair or replacement of facilities damaged by these severe storms.

About DHSES  
The Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services (DHSES) provides leadership, coordination and support for efforts to prevent, protect against, prepare for, respond to, and recover from terrorism, man-made and natural disasters, and other emergencies. For more information, visit the DHSES Facebook page, follow @NYSDHSES on Twitter and Instagram, or visit dhses.ny.gov.

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