BOSTON (AP) — President Obama signed a disaster declaration on Monday for Massachusetts and ordered federal aid to help the state recover from the blizzard that hit the region from Jan. 26-28.
Federal Emergency Management Agency officials issued the declaration after Gov. Charlie Baker met with Vice President Joe Biden at the White House.
Baker had taken the unusual step of asking Obama to treat the series of storms that pummeled Massachusetts in January and February as a single, continuous event, for which he has said the state’s costs total about $400 million.
FEMA said additional designations for the additional storms could be made later if requested by the state and warranted by further damage assessments.
Under the declaration issued Monday, federal funding is available to help cover the cost of emergency work and the repair or replacement of facilities damaged by the January blizzard in Barnstable, Bristol, Dukes, Essex, Middlesex, Nantucket, Norfolk, Plymouth, Suffolk and Worcester counties.
The aid is available to state, tribal and eligible local governments and certain private nonprofit organizations.
It also covers state and local government snow-removal costs for a continuous 48-hour period during or after the storm and the costs of related hazard mitigation.
As of mid-March, when Baker submitted the written disaster aid request, Boston had received 108.6 inches of snow — about 9 feet — topping a seasonal record of 107.9 inches that was set in 1995-96. Nearly 65 inches fell in February alone, shattering the previous one-month record of 43.3 inches in January 2005.
The state reported 25 deaths, including pedestrians struck by snow plows, fatal falls involving people attempting to clear snow from roofs and heart attacks from shoveling snow. Hospitals reported treating more than 1,500 people for weather-related injuries.
Copyright 2015 The Associated Press