Maryland Officials Confident of Snowstorm Disaster Aid

By | January 29, 2016

Last weekend’s brutal snowstorm pummeled Maryland from the Atlantic coast to the West Virginia border, costing government agencies much more than the minimum requirement for a federal disaster declaration, the state’s emergency management chief said.

The state aims to submit to federal authorities by mid-February an application seeking partial reimbursement for tens of millions of dollars in snow removal costs, damage to public property, and emergency measures to protect lives and property, Maryland Emergency Management Agency officials said.

The qualifying threshold for Maryland is $8.1 million under Federal Emergency Management Agency rules, “and we’ve met that without any question,” MEMA Executive Director Russell Strickland said.

“I think with the basic numbers that we’ve run, when you look at that in comparison to previous storms, we’ll easily make our threshold and overall should be in pretty good shape,” Strickland said in a telephone interview.

The storm dumped up to 38.5 inches of snow in some areas, caused flooding and fishing-pier damage in Ocean City and partially collapsed a school roof in Baltimore County.

Strickland said the state will seek to qualify for FEMA public assistance, which generally reimburses state and local governments for 75 percent of their qualified costs. He said private business will likely be able to obtain Small Business Administration disaster loans. The SBA disaster program is separate from FEMA.

Maryland last received federal major disaster assistance for a snowstorm that struck just before Valentine’s Day 2014. Carroll, Howard and Baltimore counties received $8.7 million in public assistance, according to FEMA’s website.

Other snowy storms that qualified for federal disaster aid in Maryland include Hurricane Sandy in 2012, for a total of $34.5 million in public and individual assistance; a pair of snowstorms in February 2010, for $59.4 million in public assistance; and a snowstorm in December 2009, for $24.6 million in public assistance.

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