Federal disaster funding announced for October flooding

Water rushes down Spring Creek under the Milesburg bridge after heavy and fast rain on Friday, Oct. 21, 2016.
Water rushes down Spring Creek under the Milesburg bridge after heavy and fast rain on Friday, Oct. 21, 2016. adrey@centredaily.com

Flash-flooding hit Centre County hard in October. But some relief is on the way.

Gov. Tom Wolf announced Friday that the federal government granted his request for federal disaster assistance.

The assistance will reimburse state agencies, county and municipal governments and eligible private nonprofits for costs associated with the flooding, according to a press release from the governor’s office.

“This flooding caused considerable damage to state and local infrastructure, and the financial impact would have caused significant strain on the communities and their economies,” Wolf said in the release. “This assistance will make a big difference in these communities that simply cannot absorb the cost of repairs.”

The counties that are affected by the flooding and eligible for funding are Bradford, Centre, Lycoming and Sullivan.

Damages were reported by 13 municipalities in Centre County, six in Bradford, 12 in Lycoming and three in Sullivan, according to Ruth Miller, director of communications for Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency.

In addition, three state agencies reported damage — Department of Transportation, Department of Conservation and National Resources and the Game Commission, Miller said in an email.

For Centre County, the repairs being made to infrastructure, such as roads and bridges, is estimated at just more than $2 million, as previously reported.

The total estimated costs associated with the flooding, which was declared a major disaster, are $33.2 million — well above the $18.1 million threshold to seek federal assistance, according to the release.

The federal reimbursement will cover up to 75 percent of county costs, according to the release. Eligible expenses include “costs associated with paying overtime, repairs to damaged public infrastructure, equipment rentals, materials, search and rescue operations, and opening and operating shelters.”

“Within the next month, PEMA staff will hold applicant briefings in each of the four counties. At that time, we’ll explain what assistance is available, what costs are eligible and how to apply for it,” Miller said.

Sarah Rafacz: 814-231-4619, @SarahRafacz