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Hogan requests presidential disaster declaration for Annapolis tornado, other impacts of Ida

Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan requested a presidential disaster declaration Monday for the impacts of Tropical Depression Ida, including a tornado that tore through Annapolis and major flooding that displaced dozens of people in Rising Sun.

The declaration would cover Anne Arundel and Cecil counties, allowing them to draw from grant funding to help individual residents with repairs and rehousing. All of Maryland’s 24 counties would be able to draw from the federal government’s Hazard Mitigation Grant Program, which can fund projects like flood-proofing and the purchase of generators.

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In both counties, officials estimated that the Sept. 1 storm damaged 142 homes, including six that were destroyed and 51 that sustained major damage, according to Hogan’s letter to the Biden administration.

In Annapolis, the EF-2 tornado, which traveled about 11.5 miles, displaced 37 residents and damaged 25 commercial buildings — 15 of which were condemned. The tornado closed down a busy thoroughfare, West Street, for nearly 48 hours as officials worked to repair the damage. Numerous other streets were closed for downed wires and trees. The City of Annapolis Community and Economic Development Division estimated that more than $3.8 million in business revenue and inventory was lost as a result of the disaster.

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About 2,300 people in Anne Arundel were without power at the incident’s peak, according to Hogan’s letter. After 36 hours, 1,200 people in the county were still without power.

After the storm, the city of Annapolis funded 26 hotel room nights for displaced city residents, opened an emergency shelter at the Pip Moyer Recreation Center and offered tree removal services free of charge to citizens who couldn’t afford to pay private contractors, according to Hogan’s letter.

In a statement Monday, Annapolis Mayor Gavin Buckley said community members affected by the storm “need this money.”

“Some of the residents have lived in the houses in the affected community for generations,” Buckley added.

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He said the recovery effort is coming along, but it’s a slow process.

“There are still a lot of blue tarps. Traffic and electricity has returned to normal, but there will be some time before everything is back to normal,” he said.

In the Cecil County town of Rising Sun, Stone Run Creek overflowed during the storm, flooding 21 homes and displacing 63 people.

Due to concerns about the spread of COVID-19, those residents were moved to a hotel rather than a shelter. So far, seven of the displaced residents have found new housing. But 56 people, including 29 children, remain at the hotel.

“The majority of the displaced residents from the community speak Spanish as their primary language, which can present challenges when providing assistance,” Hogan’s letter stated. “Most of the residents do not have any insurance coverage and lost most of their possessions in the flood.”

So far, the accommodations have cost $16,295 in local, state and federal dollars, Hogan said in the letter. Initially, the local human services and health departments, along with the American Red Cross, helped provide clothing, food and child care needs for the evacuees. Then, the Cecil County Department of Community Services took over to continue providing food and shelter, Hogan’s letter stated. Cecil County Public Schools provided meal services to the affected families and transportation services to allow children to continue attending classes.

The plan to shelter the families is funded through Sept. 30, Hogan said, but efforts to rehouse the families through rental subsidy programs have waitlists of 60 days or more, he said.

In response to questions about what will occur once October begins, Kevin Alkinburg, Cecil County public information officer, said the county and its community partners will “continue to assist the displaced families in their effort to get themselves permanent housing.”

Alkinburg added: “Cecil County government has been able to communicate with the families through our staff and from support from our community partners.”

In addition to individual assistance for the families of Mill Creek Manor, Alkinburg said the county has requested help from the Small Business Administration to support small businesses that experienced damage.

“As our communities continue to recover from the devastation caused by Ida, we have been coordinating closely with local officials to assess the damage and provide whatever support we can,” Hogan said in a statement. “We are requesting a presidential disaster declaration to make more resources available and help those affected recover as quickly as possible.”

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