St. Lawrence County receives federal disaster declaration for December blizzard

Federal disaster declaration for December blizzard
Published: Mar. 16, 2023 at 12:35 PM EDT
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ALBANY, New York (WWNY) - St. Lawrence County is now eligible for federal funding after President Joe Biden approved a major disaster declaration for parts of New York state.

The declaration means St. Lawrence County is eligible for federal funding from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to help cover costs of storm-related damages and emergency response. Senator Chuck Schumer made the announcement Thursday.

“Winter storm Elliott, as we know, was truly a once-in-a-generation storm for Buffalo, western New York, and communities across the state,” the senator said. “Terrifying conditions, historic snowfall, hurricane-force winds that left thousands without power.”

One area that may benefit is Ogdensburg. December’s blizzard cost the city more than $400,000, with the Ogdensburg marina docks sustaining $350,000 worth of damage from high winds.

In other areas of the county, like Hammond, first responders used snowmobiles and ATVs to rescue people stranded in the snow.

In January, Emergency Services Director Matt Denner said the county was hoping for help paying for overtime costs to cleanup roads, or damages, including the docks in Ogdensburg.

Gov. Kathy Hochul requested President Biden declare a disaster for December’s storm last month, and Schumer says he’s worked hard to make it happen.

“I called FEMA. I called the White House chief of staff repeatedly and I lobbied the president, even on Air Force One,” he said. “I’m very glad that last night they came through.”

As for how much the county will get and what it will be used for is still unknown. Denner says he’s waiting to get confirmation from the state.