Hurricane Irene made quite an impact on a few regions in Pennsylvania, but Tropical Storm Lee compounded that effect by bringing even more rain. As the state was approved for federal help from the damage that Irene brought, Lee came along and made a bad situation that much worse. Some 150,000 residents were evacuated in anticipation of flooding, and Lee did not disappoint. Now, as residents start returning to their homes the real work begins.
Are the mandatory evacuations over?
While not completely lifted, evacuation orders for many areas have been lifted. However, many locations affected by Lee still have a standing curfew order, which could be lifted at any time. Power is being restored slowly and surely to many homes, but those in remote locations might be waiting a little while.
How much damage resulted from Tropical Storm Lee?
More than 2,000 structures were damaged from flooding. While no specific dollar amount has yet to be confirmed, analysts put the cost in the tens of millions of dollars. The situation could have worse if evacuations ahead of the storm and other preparations had not been made. When Lee arrived many officials were still assessing the damage from Irene, and many emergency management agencies were already close by as a result.
Will federal aid be available?
Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett has asked President Barack Obama to declare a major disaster declaration in the state. Once federal approval is in place, residents will be able to seek federal help. Up to $30,200 will be available to each homeowner to help cover repairs and home essentials, such as furnaces.
What is the death toll from Tropical Storm Lee in Pennsylvania?
Unofficially, the death toll from Lee stands at 12. But that number could have been much higher had residents not evacuated low-lying areas.
How long with the recovery take?
The damage will take a few weeks to sort out, but even the most conservative guesses will stand at months or longer. Many residents are just starting to return to their flood ravaged homes and specific conditions are trickling into the media every hour. The recovery from this disaster will take some time, but some luck will also be needed to avoid another punch from more storm remnants in hurricane season.
Jason Gallagher is a long-time Pennsylvania resident. He has experiences in trends and developments in many regions from having lived in many parts of the Keystone State, and currently resides in the Pittsburgh area.