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Public Statements

Letter to Barack Obama, President of the United States - Assist Communities Affected By Recent Severe Weather

Letter

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC

Senator Chris Dodd (D-CT), Senator Joe Lieberman (ID-CT), and the entire Connecticut Congressional delegation sent a letter to President Barack Obama this week urging him to provide federal assistance to Connecticut's cities, towns, businesses, and residents affected by recent severe weather.

The delegation letter supports Governor M. Jodi Rell's recently-submitted request for the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to declare a major disaster for Connecticut as a result of the severe rainfall and hurricane force winds that hit Fairfield County and Southeastern Connecticut during an 18-day period last month. If the President declares a major disaster for Connecticut, it will activate a number of federal programs that will assist in the recovery efforts of individuals and local governments.

The delegation stated in their letter, "Connecticut has been hard hit by the economic downturn--a situation that has been compounded by the recent storms. FEMA has verified that the State and municipal costs associated with this storm would exceed $10 million and that the severity of damage and the impact on families, businesses and towns in Connecticut are sizable. Connecticut is in desperate need of federal assistance for the response and recovery efforts that will only become available with the declaration of a major disaster. Therefore, we strongly support the Governor's request for federal assistance and urge you to make this declaration."

Full text of the letter below:

April 12, 2010

The President of the United States

The White House

1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW

Washington, DC 20500

Dear Mr. President:

We write in support of requests submitted by Connecticut Governor M. Jodi Rell on April 9 and April 12, 2010 asking that the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) declare a major disaster for the State of Connecticut as a result of severe wind and flooding that occurred over an 18 day period, from March 12 through March 30, 2010, particularly in the counties of Fairfield and New London.

According to National Weather Service data, the three consecutive rainfall episodes in March were the result of the same two large scale weather systems resulting in record breaking rainfalls. First, Connecticut experienced heavy rainfall and documented hurricane force wind gusts from March 12, 2010, through March 15, 2010. Many areas of the state received between four and five inches of rainfall in a 24-hour period and winds that gusted up to 75 miles per hour. An example of the damage can be measured in Greenwich, Fairfield County, where 400 of 700 roads were impassable due to a combination of fallen trees and downed power lines. Shortly after, on March 23, heavy rainfall of 1.5 to 3.2 inches hit Connecticut, well before the state could recover from the first rainfall. This additional rain exacerbated conditions in most of the state that was already experiencing saturated soil and swollen waterways.

Between March 29 and March 30, Connecticut was battered with historically heavy rainfall, with four to ten inches falling during a 36-hour period. Southeastern Connecticut, in particular New London County, was seriously impacted by the storm. Rivers and streams reached historic levels, with indications at eight different locations of water ways reaching the 500 year flood level. Communities like Stonington, New London County experienced excessive damage by dangerous flood conditions. Much of the Route 184 in Stonington was simply washed away by rushing waters.

Connecticut has been hard hit by the economic downturn--a situation that has been compounded by the recent storms. FEMA has verified that the State and municipal costs associated with this storm would exceed $10 million and that the severity of damage and the impact on families, businesses and towns in Connecticut are sizable. Connecticut is in desperate need of federal assistance for the response and recovery efforts that will only become available with the declaration of a major disaster. Therefore, we strongly support the Governor's request for federal assistance and urge you to make this declaration.

We appreciate your consideration and timely attention to this request on behalf of the people of Connecticut.

Sincerely,

Christopher J. Dodd

Joseph I. Lieberman

Rosa L. DeLauro

John B. Larson

Joe Courtney

Christopher S. Murphy

Jim Himes


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