Snowiest Areas In N.J. Seek Federal Aid, Prepare For Rain

plowtrucks lkwd_wmWith some parts of New Jersey under two feet of snow, the state is reviewing information to see whether last weekend’s snowstorm could bring in federal disaster aid. Gov. Jon Corzine’s office said new federal guidelines require an affected area seeking federal assistance for snow removal to exceed the historical accumulated snowfall mark for that region. The governor said state emergency management officials are reviewing the data and additional information still needs to be collected to see if the state meets the criteria.

Meanwhile, the hardest hit areas, Monmouth and Ocean counties, are preparing for a rainstorm predicted to hit New Jersey and the Northeast tomorrow and Saturday.

Officials in both counties said crews were out today and will be out Thursday to make sure all drains and basins on roads are clear of debris and snow so rain and melting snow can run off without causing a flood.

“We’re making sure all of the basins are open and the drains are clear so the melting snow and rain has a place to go,” said James Cerrata, a senior management assistant in the director’s office of the Monmouth County public works department.

Ocean County Undersheriff Wayne Rupert said his county’s road crews are doing the same thing.

“We’re doing what we can to make sure water runs off the road and there’s no flooding,” Rupert said. “But, if the retention basins where storm drains run off fill up, we can’t do anything about that.”

Rupert said federal disaster assistance “would be welcome.”

“When you get 2 feet of snow, it helps to have federal money offset some of the costs of snow removal,” he said. “We’re all in the same boat. Things are tight.”

The National Weather Service is forecasting a 40 percent chance of rain tomorrow, with rain more likely tomorrow night. The rain is expected to continue Saturday. Star Ledger.

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