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FEMA orders aide to New York and Pennsylvania as floods worsen

PA flooding

FEMA authorized federal assistance for parts of New York and Pennsylvania as the remnants of tropical storm Lee continue to drench the eastern seaboard.

The announcements come as lawmakers in Washington struggle to find more money to support multiple recovery efforts from previous storms, including the deadly spring tornadoes in the Midwest and, more recently, flooding from Hurricane Irene along the east coast. FEMA’s disaster relief fund has dropped below $550 million.

The remnants of tropical storm Lee, stalled over the Ohio Valley for days, inundating large swaths of some eastern states with deep flood water. In some areas, as much as 15 inches of rain have fallen in only a couple of days. Flooding along the Susquehanna River in Pennsylvania and upstate New York has been a particular problem. Flooding in areas further south in Virginia and Maryland has also been substantial.  Flooding in the Washington D.C. area closed schools and submerged important road arteries after continued downpours the evening of Sept. 8.

Aid to the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania was authorized begining on Sept. 3, while aide to some New York counties was tied to a Sept. 7 beginning date. On Sept. 9, FEMA said an emergency exists in the State of New York and ordered federal aid to supplement state and local response efforts due to the emergency conditions.

FEMA said its action authorizes coordination of disaster response and relief efforts in the counties of Albany, Broome, Chenango, Chemung, Delaware, Greene, Herkimer, Montgomery, Oneida, Otsego, Rensselaer, Schenectady, Schoharie, Sullivan, and Tioga.

 It is also authorized to identify, mobilize, and provide equipment  resources necessary to alleviate the impacts of the emergency.  Emergency protective measures, including direct federal assistance, will be provided at 75 percent federal funding.