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October storm prompts Governor’s request for federal aid

(Washington, D.C.) – U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) last night sent a letter to President Obama urging him to support New Hampshire Governor John Lynch’s request for federal disaster relief in the wake of this past weekend’s heavy snowfall and high winds.  Approximately 150,000 households and businesses in New Hampshire are still without power, and utilities estimate that it will take several days to restore power to all customers.

”With many local roads still closed and families across the state forced to stay in shelters as they wait for power to be restored in their homes, New Hampshire needs federal assistance as it recovers from the recent snowstorm,” Shaheen said.  “I urge the President and federal disaster relief officials to act quickly to provide New Hampshire with the help it needs and deserves.”

Shaheen’s office has remained in close contact with federal and state officials throughout the duration of the storm and its aftermath.  Residents with damage from the storm are urged to notify the state to help with damage assessment by calling 2-1-1.

The full text of Shaheen’s letter to President Obama is below.

October 31, 2011

President Barack Obama
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW Washington, DC 20500

Dear Mr. President:

I am writing in support of New Hampshire Governor John Lynch's request for a Disaster Declaration for the State of New Hampshire after the heavy snowfall and high winds that occurred on October 29th and October 30th, 2011. The Governor's request covers all ten New Hampshire counties.

The seasonally unusual storm that hit New Hampshire this past weekend dumped record levels of snow in many areas of the state. Combined with gusting winds of up to 35 mph, this heavy snowfall, which reached 25 inches in many areas of the state, produced widespread debris that caused significant power outages and road closures across New Hampshire. Over 315,000 customers lost power during the storm and, at present, approximately 200,000 households and businesses in New Hampshire still lack power.

The state's largest utility has estimated that it may take a full week to restore power to all customers, leaving many in the state vulnerable to unseasonably cold temperatures and unable to stay in their homes. As such, New Hampshire anticipates it will need assistance providing shelters with the supplies necessary to house residents waiting for power to be restored.

Thanks to the swift actions of Governor Lynch and the New Hampshire  Department of Transportation, all state roads have been cleared of debris and reopened  to traffic. More than 100 local roads, however, remain closed due to debris and downed power lines and federal assistance is required to ensure that debris removal proceeds quickly.

I urge you to grant Governor Lynch's request for a Disaster Declaration as soon as possible in order to ensure that New Hampshire's businesses, towns and citizens have access to the resources and assistance they need to respond effectively to this crisis. Thank you for your consideration.


Jeanne Shaheen
United States Senator