U.S. Senator Susan Collins announced today that Androscoggin, Cumberland, and York Counties are eligible for public assistance following a Presidential major disaster declaration for the State of Maine. The declaration releases federal funds to help local communities recover from the severe storms they encountered in July and August.

“Homes, businesses, and local infrastructure were severely damaged as a result of the heavy rain, hail, damaging winds, and flash flooding these counties suffered,” Senator Collins said. “Following a record snow fall from this past winter, as well as other major storms, these adverse weather conditions have increased the strain on the already limited budgets of our towns and cities. Federal disaster assistance will help the recovery process.”

On August 25, Senator Collins sent a letter to the President urging him to support Governor John Baldacci’s request for Public Assistance for Androscoggin, Cumberland and York Counties for damage caused heavy rain, hail, damaging winds, and flash flooding.

The Senator wrote, “According to the National Weather Service, Maine, as well as much of New England, was affected by a low pressure system from July 18th to August 16th. This system gradually strengthened during the period and caused severe weather, including heavy rain, hail, damaging winds and tornadoes. This severe weather combined with slow moving winds caused very heavy rains and flash flooding in the counties of Androscoggin, Cumberland and York. The heavy rainfall throughout this period saturated the ground and weakened roadways and other infrastructure. The saturated ground and weakened infrastructure in these Counties were particularly affected by heavy downpours from August 8th to August 16th. The severe weather closed dozens of roads, prevented families from reaching their homes, and cut off water supply for much of the town of Freeport in Cumberland County, Maine.

“The Governor has determined that this event is of such severity and magnitude that effective response is “beyond the capabilities of the State and the affected local governments” and has sought Public Assistance under the Stafford Act for these three counties. State and local budgets in Maine have already been exhausted by the convergent effects of five major disasters since May of 2006 and a record snow year in 2007-2008, for which no federal assistance was received.”