President Joe Biden has approved a Major Disaster Declaration to aid the recovery of New York communities impacted by the December storm.
Gov. Kathy Hochul had requested a declaration from the president in February.
The historic December storm brought 37 straight hours of blizzard-like conditions in Erie County, which is the longest recorded blizzard in the United States under 5,000 feet of elevation and record snowfall in Niagara County. The storm also claimed the lives of 46 residents from Erie County and one resident from Niagara County.
"New Yorkers are still recovering from the devastating storm over the holidays that impacted communities across the state, causing flooding on Long Island and a record breaking, deadly blizzard in my hometown of Buffalo," Gov. Hochul said. "I'm thankful President Biden and FEMA Administrator Criswell approved my request for a Major Disaster Declaration, which will provide much-needed assistance to the hardest-hit communities and help them recover."
The declaration makes federal funding available for funerals for those affected in Erie and Genesee counties, and the replacement of facilities damaged by the severe winter storm and snowstorm in Erie, Genesee, Niagara, St. Lawrence and Suffolk counties.
"The December blizzard was unlike anything the Western New York community has experienced," Representative Brian Higgins said. "As we continue to recover and mourn the loss of our neighbors, the Major Disaster Declaration approved by President Joe Biden will unlock federal funding for municipalities that took on extensive snow removal operations, repair damaged infrastructure, and support the families who tragically lost their loved ones."
Funding will also be used for statewide hazard mitigation measures.
"This was a devastating storm for the Western New York community and brought significant impacts and damage across the entire state. Thanks to the leadership of Governor Hochul and the support of our federal partners, DHSES will administer this critical funding and continue to support New Yorkers and local governments impacted by this storm," Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services Commissioner Jackie Bray said.
On Long Island, high winds and heavy rains from the storm brought widespread coastal flooding in Suffolk County, leaving debris damage and thousands of power outages due to damaged infrastructure. Significant tidal surges also caused coastal erosion in the area.