RICHMOND, Va. -- The cities of Lynchburg and Norton have been added to the 92 counties and 13 cities made eligible for federal disaster assistance following two severe winter storms.
On Jan. 25, a storm produced record-breaking snowfall in many areas of the state. A second storm that coated much of the Commonwealth in heavy ice struck on Jan. 30. Gov. Jim Gilmore declared a state of emergency and requested federal assistance following the two storms. President Clinton initially declared a major disaster declaration for 103 Virginia jurisdictions on Feb. 28.
Under the declaration, FEMA's Public Assistance and Hazard Mitigation programs were granted. The Public Assistance program allows jurisdictions to apply for reimbursement for emergency work performed during the storm including the cost of abrasive materials and salt for roadways, debris removal and emergency protective measures. Funds to repair qualified utilities in declared jurisdictions will also be available. Under the program, FEMA will provide 75 percent of the share of eligible costs. State and local governments are responsible for the remaining 25 percent.
Additionally, FEMA's Hazard Mitigation program will provide funding to help prevent future disasters. The Virginia Department of Emergency Services administers the two programs.
Federal officials said eligibility for jurisdictions to be included in the declaration is based on record or near-record snowfall, and the widespread economic impact caused by the storms.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the Virginia Department of Emergency Services (VDES) have combined efforts to assist local jurisdictions, electric cooperatives and state agencies with the disaster application process.