Gov. Christie seeks federal disaster aid for January blizzard recovery

    Gov. Chris Christie is asking the federal government for disaster assistance to help New Jersey pay for last month’s winter storm.

    The governor, one day removed from officially ending his presidential bid, today sent a letter to President Barack Obama that detailed $82 million in costs the state incurred between Jan. 22 and Jan. 29.

    “Based on the information presented to me, I have determined that this incident is of such severity and magnitude that an effective response is beyond the capabilities of the State and the affected county and local governments, and that federal assistance is necessary to supplement the efforts and available resources of State, county, and local governments and disaster relief organizations,” said Governor Christie in a release. 

    The storm dropped up to 30 inches of snow, cut power to 270,000 customers and flooded several coastal towns.

    Cape May County was particularly hard hit, with the West Wildwood Police Department reporting “storm debris everywhere” on Jan. 25 after a protective back bay bulkhead burst. In Ocean County, the Beach Haven Fire Department’s station was flooded with tidal waters, and Ortley Beach’s emergency sand berm was virtually washed away. Tidal flooding was also reported in Atlantic and Monmouth counties. 

    Christie is requesting public assistance for Atlantic, Bergen, Burlington, Camden, Cape May, Cumberland, Essex, Hudson, Hunterdon, Mercer, Middlesex, Monmouth, Morris, Ocean, Somerset, Union, and Warren counties.

    The public assistance request also includes costs for snow removal, snow dumping, de-icing, and salting, and sanding roads. The governor is also seeking hazard mitigation assistance state-wide.

    The coast is vulnerable to future flooding due to beach erosion and severely damaged or destroyed dunes and bulkheads, Christie said.

    “The erosion and damages to these protective coastal barrier systems are to the point where a future five-year storm will cause damage to improved property,” he said. “Should additional winter or tropical storms impact the area, the state will also be at risk of additional flooding because of damage to the dune systems from this storm.”

    Speaking on MSNBC from New Hampshire on Jan 25., Christie said there was no remaining flood damage in New Jersey. 

    “There is no residual damage, there is no residual flooding damage,” he said. “All of the flooding receded yesterday morning. And there was no other damage. People were driving around the streets yesterday morning of New Jersey.”

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    The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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