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Orleans included in governor’s request for disaster relief from storm

Staff Reports Posted 11 December 2014 at 12:00 am

Orleans County was barely touched by the big snowstorm that hit the Buffalo area last month, but Gov. Andrew Cuomo has requested Orleans be included with other counties and be eligible for federal disaster aid.

The governor today said he has requested a major disaster declaration be issued for Cattaraugus, Chautauqua, Erie, Genesee, Jefferson, Lewis, Orleans, St. Lawrence and Wyoming counties due to snowstorm and flooding that occurred from Nov. 18-26.

State and local governments had more than $46.6 million in response costs and infrastructure damage verified as a result of the storm, the governor said. A major disaster declaration for these counties is the next step in seeking financial assistance from the federal government once the $27.3 million damage threshold is met to allow local communities continue to recover.

“Once again, extreme weather came to New York and once again New Yorkers came together to help our neighbors in their time of need,” Cuomo said. “The state, working with communities from every corner of New York, mobilized an unprecedented response to the storm that struck Western New York and the North County. As we continue the recovery process, federal assistance is critical to helping these communities and their residents move beyond this storm and prepare for the rest of the upcoming winter season.”

A total of 14 fatalities and six injuries were attributed to the Lake Effect Snow event. More than 370 structures experienced roof damage from the weight of snow with an additional 38 structures completely destroyed.

In rural communities, barn collapses killed and injured livestock, including cattle and horses. Dairy farmers were forced to dump more than 250,000 pounds of milk. Damages to the agricultural industry alone are estimated at more than $15 million.