Gov. Andrew Cuomo has officially requested that the federal government issue a Major Disaster Declaration to the 18 counties affected by the Halloween floods to assist in repairing more than $33 million in damages.
Affected areas include parts of Chautauqua, Chenango, Cortland, Erie, Essex, Fulton, Hamilton, Herkimer, Jefferson, Lewis, Madison, Montgomery, Oneida, Oswego, Otsego, Saratoga, Tioga and Warren counties.
Photo courtesy of Michael Sylvia
A Major Disaster Declaration would allow federal funding to be allocated to local communities for emergency protective measures, debris removal and repairs to public buildings and infrastructure, as well as direct support for individuals and homeowners in Essex, Hamilton, Herkimer and Oneida counties.
"This year's Halloween storm caused tremendous damage to infrastructure and homes across the entire state," Cuomo said. "I am urging the federal government to validate the severity of these storm damages as soon as possible so we can begin to get the businesses and families the funding they need to repair and rebuild."
As local first responders and emergency teams addressed immediate issues, the State Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services sent specialists to assess damage so the areas could apply for federal disaster assistance.
State and federal experts have estimated that the storm caused more than $33 million in damages and funding has been requested through FEMA to support the restoration of public infrastructure.
FEMA's Public Assistance Program, which provides reimbursement for local governments after a disaster, helps with debris removal, emergency protective measures, repair and rebuilding of public infrastructure that was damaged including roads, schools, bridges, parks, hospitals, police stations, fire houses, water and waste water treatment facilities.
Cuomo is also requesting federal funding through FEMA's Individual Assistance Program for Essex, Hamilton, Herkimer and Oneida counties. This program provides direct support to individuals and households.
Assessments have determined 18 homes were destroyed, 135 sustained major damage, 136 sustained minor damage and 110 were otherwise affected in some way. If approved, eligible homeowners will work directly with FEMA to obtain funding.
Over the course of the storm, more than 100 state roads were damaged or impassable as floodwaters invaded multiple roads, bridges and culverts.
Utility crews also had to restore power to more than 650,000 electric customers affected by the heavy rain from Oct. 31 through Nov. 2.
The National Weather Service and New York State Mesonet data indicates upstate New York received two to five inches of rain with isolated amounts up to seven inches during the storm.
The storm caused heavy rainfall, flash flooding and strong winds. Flooding reached record levels on the West Canada Creek at the Hinckley Dam and Kast Bridge, Sacandaga River at Hope and Mohawk River at Little Falls.
Some residents in the Mohawk Valley also needed to be evacuated, including residents in the Village of Frankfort in Herkimer County near Moyer Creek and in Chadwicks in Oneida County near Sauquoit Creek.
State and local rescue teams rescued 65 people and 14 animals during the storm.
Cuomo has requested more than $6.7 million for Herkimer County, $2.4 million for Oneida County and around $130,000 for Otsego County.
Read Cuomo’s full request below.