FEMA Examines NYC to Determine Federal Funding for Tornado Cleanup - NBC New York

FEMA Examines NYC to Determine Federal Funding for Tornado Cleanup



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    Members of the Fire Department clean up a downed tree following a late afternoon storm.

    September in New York has some thinking they’re in Kansas: Severe weather here is giving the “Tornado Alley” a run for its money as just last week, tornadoes and “macrobursts” ripped through the region.

    The result left an array of crushed cars, broken windows and dangling electric wires. Mix in a four-day delay for some neighborhoods to receive clean-up assistance, and you get thinning patience among residents.

    "We got to get the city up off their rear ends to get this cleared away," said Ben Panas, a North Flushing resident who used his own chain saws to cut away a tree blocking his street.

    "I understand people are frustrated," Mayor Bloomberg assured. "It just goes to show how powerful Mother Nature is."

    So powerful in fact that the Federal Emergency Management Agency examined areas in Queens, Brooklyn and Staten Island today to determine if New York City  will get federal funding to pay for the cleanup.

    As of now, Mayor Bloomberg estimated the clean up would take weeks explaining that these tornadoes did more damage than any city storm since Hurricane Gloria in 1985.

    If the damage totals at least $25 million New York will qualify for federal cleanup funds.

    Right now, about 350 city personnel from the NYPD, FDNY, Parks and Sanitation departments are all involved in removing the remnants of the storm.

    "I know they're overwhelmed. I do understand that," said a pregnant Andrea Odintz-Cohen. "This WAS a big storm."

    Now it’s just a matter of whether or not the city will receive big help.