Gov. Wolf Requests Federal Disaster Money for January Snowstorm

Thirty-one Pennsylvania counties spent about $55.5 million dealing with January's snowstorm. The state wants the feds to pick up some of the tab.

January 2016 snowstorm

Photo | Dan McQuade

January’s snowstorm was so bad, Tom Wolf wants federal money to help recover from it.

Pennsylvania’s governor announced today he has requested federal disaster assistance for the storm, dubbed Winter Storm Jonas by the Weather Channel.

“Our numbers so far show that municipal, county and state agencies spent more than $55 million to respond to this storm,” Wolf said in a release. “In many places, it wiped out an entire year’s budget for snow response and removal, and winter isn’t over yet.”

Wolf requested federal money to help pay for the costs of the storm in 31 counties, including four locally: Philadelphia, Bucks, Chester and Montgomery. In order to meet the criteria for federal funding, three conditions must be met: A record or near-record snowfall, costs per capita during a 48-hour threshold must meet or exceed a cost of $3.56 per capita and the total state costs must exceed $17.9 million.

The total cost in the 31 counties Pennsylvania is requesting assistance for is about $55.5 million, well above that threshold.

Pennsylvania’s counties tallied their costs due to the storm — including overtime, equipment rentals, search and rescue operations, operating shelters, etc. — and sent them to the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency, which totaled the costs and sent them to the governor. Counties can be reimbursed for up to 75 percent. There is no timetable on the decision whether the state will get federal funds for the storm.

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