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Published: Tuesday, 8/21/2012

Ohio disaster designation OK'd

Dozens of counties eligible for federal funds after severe storms

Federal officials have declared a major disaster in a number of Ohio counties from storms that swept through the area June 29 to July 2.

The declaration, made official Monday by President Obama, allows an unspecified amount of federal funds to be distributed as needed to assist in state and local recovery efforts.

The storms' winds, with gusts measured up to 84 mph in Findlay and Paulding, tore boats off trailers, ripped shingles from roofs, and blew huge tree branches into farm fields and graveyards.

The storms' broadest impact was the loss of electricity to an estimated 1 million utility customers across Ohio, including tens of thousands in the northwestern part of the state, after branches tore down wires and high winds felled transmission lines.

Federal funding will be available to state and some local governments and certain private nonprofit organizations for emergency work and the repair or replacement of facilities damaged by the severe storms and winds in a number of northwest Ohio counties including Allen, Auglaize, Hancock, Paulding, Putnam, and Van Wert.

Ohio's Sens. Rob Portman (R., Ohio) and Sherrod Brown (D., Ohio), along with the Ohio congressional delegation, sent a letter to President Obama on Friday in support of Gov. John Kasich's Aug. 10 request for a major disaster declaration for the state.

Federal Emergency Management Agency spokesman Mark Peterson said the funds can be used to reimburse up to 75 percent of certain costs, such as debris removal and repair of public infrastructure such as roads.

Statewide, the federal disaster declaration applies to the counties of Adams, Allen, Athens, Auglaize, Belmont, Champaign, Clark, Coshocton, Fairfield, Franklin, Gallia, Guernsey, Hancock, Hardin, Harrison, Highland, Hocking, Jackson, Knox, Lawrence, Licking, Logan, Meigs, Miami, Monroe, Morgan, Morrow, Muskingum, Noble, Paulding, Perry, Pickaway, Pike, Putnam, Shelby, Van Wert, and Washington.

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