President Barack Obama on Thursday declared a major disaster in Maryland following the storms and high winds of late June and early July, and ordered federal aid to supplement state and local recovery efforts in the areas affected.

The deadly derecho that ripped through the state June 29 damaged buildings, utility lines and trees, leaving hundreds of thousands in Maryland without power.

The disaster declaration covers the storms and winds from June 29 through July 8. Federal funding is now available to the state and local governments and some nonprofits for emergency work and repairs to facilities in Baltimore City and Calvert, Charles, Kent, Montgomery and St. Mary's counties.

Others areas may be added if requested by the state and warranted by damage assessments, the Federal Emergency Management Agency said.

With the declaration, FEMA may cover at least 75 percent of the eligible costs of repairing or replacing damaged roads, bridges, utilities, buildings, schools, recreational areas and other publicly owned property in the affected area. The agency may also make payments to certain nonprofit organizations engaged in community service.

FEMA may also cover up to 75 percent of the approved costs for hazard-mitigation projects undertaken by the state and local governments to prevent or reduce long-term risk to life and property.

Application procedures will be explained at a series of briefings to be announced by recovery officials, FEMA said.

FEMA Administrator W. Craig Fugate named Regis Leo Phelan the federal coordinating officer for recovery operations in the affected area in Maryland.

Obama earlier declared major disasters for Virginia and the District of Columbia.

matthew.brown@baltsun.com

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