Alabama Gov. Bob Riley announced during a news conference at the Alabama Emergency Operations Center on Wednesday he has requested President Bush declare 44 counties federal disaster areas due to Hurricane Ivan.
“We are facing a serious storm that is more powerful than any storm we’ve faced and the potential for damage is going to be tremendous on the people of this state and local government,” Gov. Riley said. “I spoke with President Bush this morning and he told me that all the federal resources available will be provided as we respond to this disaster.”
A federal disaster declaration would open up a number of different types of resources. Under a federal declaration, storm victims would be able to apply for various types of assistance measures including temporary housing assistance, individual family grants, loans and grants to repair homes and businesses, and disaster unemployment assistance, according to Bruce Baughman, director Alabama Emergency Management Agency.
The counties in the request are: Sumter, Greene, Hale, Tuscaloosa, Perry, Bibb, Jefferson, Shelby, Chilton, Talladega, Coosa, Clay, Tallapoosa, Randolph, Chambers, Choctaw, Marengo, Dallas, Autauga, Lowndes, Elmore, Montgomery, Macon, Bullock, Russell, Lee, Washington, Clarke, Wilcox, Butler, Crenshaw, Pike, Barbour, Henry, Dale, Coffee, Covington, Geneva, Houston, Monroe, Conecuh, Escambia, Mobile and Baldwin counties.
This is an expedited request. More counties could be added when the declaration is approved.
As Alabama residents and those in several surroundng states hoped for the best, Ivan slammed ashore early Thursday with winds of 130 mph, including deadly tornadoes and a strong movement of waves and rain that threatened to swamp communities from Louisiana to the Florida Panhandle. At least 12 deaths have been blamed on the storm.
The storm had reportedly weakened as it moved inland, but remained a Category 1 hurricane with winds of 80 mph several hours following landfall. Forecasters have presented a path that could take Ivan on a northeastern tour through most of the South and into parts of the Midwest.
As if Ivan was not enough to worry about, forecasters are keeping a very close eye on more trouble out in the Atlantic. Tropical Storm Jeanne was officially a hurricane Thursday in the Caribbean as it moved westward across the north coast of Puerto Rico with 80 mph winds. It could be in the proximity of Florida’s east coast as early as the weekend.
For updated information on Hurricane Ivan and for preparedness information, go to www.ema.alabama.gov.
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