NEW JERSEY (WTXF) - Governor Chris Christie announced that the state is seeking a Major Disaster Declaration under the federal Stafford Act for seventeen New Jersey counties that sustained an estimated $82.6 million in damages due to the severe winter storm event that included heavy snow, high winds, and flooding during the period of January 22 - 29, 2016.
A letter outlining the State’s request for a Major Disaster Declaration for Atlantic, Bergen, Burlington, Camden, Cape May, Cumberland, Essex, Hudson, Hunterdon, Mercer, Middlesex, Monmouth, Morris, Ocean, Somerset, Union, and Warren counties, was sent to President Barack Obama through the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). In addition, Governor Christie is requesting snow assistance for Bergen, Burlington, Camden, Essex, Hudson, Hunterdon, Mercer, Middlesex, Monmouth, Morris, Ocean, Somerset, Union, and Warren counties.
Winter Storm Jonas brought blizzard conditions and record snowfall of up to 30 inches of snow to New Jersey. Dangerous high winds combined with dense snowfall caused hazardous travel conditions, fallen trees, and approximately 270,000 power outages in affected counties. A near-full moon on January 22 created high tides across the State, including record high tidal cycles from Friday evening into Saturday morning in at least two locations. These high tides, along with strong offshore winds of 60 miles per hour, contributed to a storm surge that caused coastal flooding in areas of southern New Jersey. The cumulative effects from the storm and coastal flooding caused beach erosion and severely damaged or destroyed dunes, dune grass, crossovers, and bulkheads.
“Based on the information presented to me, I have determined that this incident is of such severity and magnitude that an effective response is beyond the capabilities of the State and the affected county and local governments, and that federal assistance is necessary to supplement the efforts and available resources of State, county, and local governments and disaster relief organizations,” said Governor Christie. “I am requesting Public Assistance for Atlantic, Bergen, Burlington, Camden, Cape May, Cumberland, Essex, Hudson, Hunterdon, Mercer, Middlesex, Monmouth, Morris, Ocean, Somerset, Union, and Warren Counties. As part of this request for Public Assistance, I am specifically requesting snow assistance which includes snow removal, snow dumping, de-icing, and salting and sanding of roads for Bergen, Burlington, Camden, Essex, Hudson, Hunterdon, Mercer, Middlesex, Monmouth, Morris, Ocean, Somerset, Union, and Warren Counties. I am also requesting Hazard Mitigation Assistance state-wide.”
The request follows joint preliminary damage assessments (PDAs) in the affected counties that were conducted by State and local emergency management officials in collaboration with FEMA. In order to be eligible for federal assistance, damage thresholds must be met at both the State and county level. The seventeen counties noted have met the FEMA threshold, as did the State.
None of the seventeen impacted counties met the thresholds necessary to request individual assistance (IA).