Oct 23, 2016

Flood damage in upstate counties fails to meet threshold for federal aid: Wolf

Warrensville, PA
USA
by
John Beauge
,
PennLive
Gov. Tom Wolf speaks to the media in Warrensville Sunday after being briefed about the Sunoco pipeline break and flash flood damage in Lycoming County. At left is Richard D. Flinn, director of the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency. Photo: John Beauge
Gov. Tom Wolf speaks to the media in Warrensville Sunday after being briefed about the Sunoco pipeline break and flash flood damage in Lycoming County. At left is Richard D. Flinn, director of the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency. Photo: John Beauge

Localized damage in Centre and Lycoming counties from flash flooding was extensive but fails to reach the level to seek federal disaster aid, Gov. Tom Wolf said Sunday following a tour of the area.

The damage from the heavy rains early Friday morning was so localized it does not rise to the level to meet the criteria for federal assistance, he explained. The exception might be Small Business Administration loans, he said Sunday.

"We need an $18 million threshold for the commonwealth," said Richard D. Flinn Jr., director of the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency.

Added Wolf, "This is really state, local and volunteers rolling up their sleeves and helping people who have been devastated recover as soon as possible."

The governor Sunday visited both counties, he said, "to make sure the state is doing everything we can do to help respond" to what he called "a terrible thing that has brought people together."

...

He noted the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation used snow plows to scrape mud on roads, and inspectors were brought in from throughout the state to make sure bridges and roads are safe.

Emergency contracts will be issued to make sure bridges and roads are repaired as soon as possible, the governor said. DEP is working with homeowners in getting their wells tested, he said.

"We're doing a lot of things from the point of view of the state to respond, and I want to make sure we are learning all we can from this," Wolf said.

...

This was an unusual incident in that "we had a narrow swath of rain of 6 to 10 inches which impacted the smaller feeder streams that rose rapidly," he said.

He cited Mill Creek, which runs through Warrensville, as an example. It is usually very docile, but [Public Safety Director John Yingling] said it did a lot of damage.