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7/13/2012 - Officials Request Major Disaster Declaration





CUMBERLAND COUNTY – “County Officials have requested that Cumberland County receive a federal major disaster declaration by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) for the significant damages incurred by heavy storms on June 30, 2012.  We’ve been in touch with the Governor’s Office, and Acting Governor Kim Guadagno has advanced our request to the Federal Government.  After we called, Acting Governor Guadagno came to Cumberland County in person to see the damage.  She has been very supportive of Cumberland County and we’re very grateful for her support”, said Freeholder Director Carl Kirstein.



On Wednesday, July 11th, 2012 Acting Governor Kim Guadagno sent a letter from the Governor’s Office through the Federal Emergency Management Agency, requesting a Major Disaster Declaration for Atlantic, Cumberland, and Salem Counties as a result of the damages caused by severe thunderstorms that struck the State in the early morning hours.  In the letter, Acting Governor Guadagno described the thunderstorms which struck our area in the early morning hours of Saturday, June 30th, 2012 with straight line winds that produced wide-spread power outages caused by falling trees, downed power poles, and debris as a “Super Derecho” storm.  The storms damage caused wide-spread power outages that resulted in evacuations, the need for shelters, cooling stations, and other assistance.  The State continues to feel the effects of these storms.  The National Weather Service characterized the storms as a “Super Derecho”, a wide-spread, long-lived wind storm associated with a band of rapidly moving showers or thunderstorms.  The National Weather Service further reports that the storms contained straight line winds of weak tornado force.  The high winds downed many trees, which caused power outages and road closures, while lightning strikes resulted in numerous fires.  Two youths perished in a State Park in Salem County when a tree collapsed onto their tent.  Several Hospitals and long term care facilities lost primary power.  Atlantic Electric reported 170,000 customers over five South Jersey counties lost power.  Vineland Municipal Electric Utility in Cumberland County reported that 22,000 of its 25,000 customers were without power.  These difficulties were compounded by an intense heat wave that followed the storm, which required the opening of cooling centers throughout the affected areas.  Road closures and detours due to downed trees disrupted traffic in Atlantic County at NJ Route 560, US 40/CR 559 in Hamilton Township, US 40EB and US 9 in Pleasantville, and in Cumberland County at NJ Route 47 in Vineland.  Downed wires caused the closing in Atlantic County of Route 9 from Route 40 and NJ Route 50, and US 40/CR 559 in Hamilton Township, and in Cumberland County at NJ Route 47 both directions in Vineland.  In Corbin City, Atlantic County, a portion of NJ Route 50 SB buckled.



In response to this situation, the State Emergency Operations Plan was implemented and the State Emergency Operations Center was activated to monitor and coordinate response efforts throughout the State.  Atlantic, Cumberland, and Salem Counties activated their Emergency Operating Centers.  Atlantic, Cumberland, and Salem Counties declared county-wide states of emergency. 


On July 3, 2012, the State requested assistance from the Federal Emergency Management Agency ("FEMA") to conduct a joint preliminary damage assessment in Atlantic, Cumberland, Gloucester, and Salem Counties.   The preliminary damage assessment determined that, Atlantic, Cumberland, and Salem counties suffered significant damages in Debris Removal, Emergency Protective Measures, Roads and Bridges, Water Control Facilities, Buildings and Equipment, and Parks and Recreation Facilities.  In addition to the loss of life in Salem County, the storms had a severe impact on low-income families in Atlantic and Cumberland Counties, where homes were destroyed or suffered major damage.



The State has determined that this incident is of such severity and magnitude that an effective response is beyond the capabilities of the State and the affected local governments, and that supplementary federal assistance is necessary.  I am specifically requesting Public Assistance for Atlantic, Cumberland, and Salem Counties and Individual Assistance for Atlantic and Cumberland Counties.  I am also requesting Hazard Mitigation Assistance Statewide.



These thunderstorms, which struck with little warning of their severity, have put a severe strain on State, county, and local budgets.  For the reasons detailed above therefore, I respectfully request at this time a Major Disaster Declaration for the Counties of Atlantic, Cumberland, and Salem.


On July 12th, 2012 Congressman LoBiondo Seconds the Request by State of New Jersey for Federal Major Disaster Declaration for Atlantic, Cumberland, Salem Counties Ravaged by June 30th Storms


WASHINGTON, D.C. - U.S. Congressman Frank A. LoBiondo (NJ-02) today wrote a letter of support for a federal major disaster declaration by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) for significant damage incurred by heavy storms on June 30, 2012 to Atlantic, Cumberland and Salem Counties.


Earlier today, Acting New Jersey Governor Kim Guadagno petitioned the federal government for the declaration, citing destruction in each of the counties listed and their activation of their Emergency Operating Centers.  The Acting Governor also cited the loss of life from the storms. LoBiondo concurs with the Acting Governor’s assessment and is petitioning President Obama on behalf of residents and businesses in his district affected by the storms.



“We’re grateful for Congressman LoBiondo’s continued support of Cumberland County.  The Congressman was in touch with me just after the storm hit our region and I appreciate his concern and dedication”, said Cumberland County Freeholder Director Carl Kirstein.



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