State officials assessing flood damage to see if it’s enough to apply for federal disaster funding

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HUMMELSTOWN, DAUPHIN COUNTY, Pa. --  Homeowners, businesses, and municipalities around the state are working to figure out how much damage was done in this week's heavy rainfall.

Governor Tom Wolf announced Thursday afternoon plans to seek disaster funding from the federal government if the damage is significant enough.

The rain may have let up but parts of our area continue to see some flooding, like in Hummelstown near the Swatara Creek, where debris has piled up along the Duke Street Bridge.

Duke Street remains closed.

"The water is still high; it's not as high as it was," said Governor Tom Wolf.

Governor Wolf assessed damage like this with officials from Pennsylvania's Emergency Management Agency (PEMA).

"Our next step is to actually focus in on recovery from the perspective of what we can do from a financial perspective and that is through pursuing any kind of federal assistance," said Richard Flinn, the director of PEMA.

In order to get that funding though, Flinn says there needs to be at least $18 million worth of damage across the Commonwealth

"One of the key things is getting that cost associated with the damages and both from the individual perspective, business, and municipalities," added Flinn.

The damage in parts of Dauphin, Lebanon, Lancaster, and York Counties is significant and so is the cost of cleaning it up.

Governor Wolf says there are quite a few people without flood insurance which is problematic partly he says because the federal government raised rates - and people can't afford it.

"What we can do is we can help the folks who need to find financial assistance. Whether we get grants or not from the federal government, we're pretty confident we can get access to these small business administration loans," said Governor Wolf.

Meanwhile, homeowners in Hummelstown feel thankful the water hasn't crept any higher, remembering the last time it did.

"I've been through a lot in my life and that was the worst thing I ever went through. When you lose your home, you lose your safety, you lose everything," said Vanessa Garcia of Hummelstown.

"Hopefully, it won't get worse. We're just kind of concerned because next week is supposed to be a lot of rain," said Karen Joseph of Hummelstown.

State officials want to encourage people with damages to contact their county's emergency management agency so they can find out what the heavy rains have truly cost the state. They also are continuing to remind people to stay away from flooded areas.

Even if levels decrease, they can still be dangerous.

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