Torrential, sustained rains struck the northeast last week, dumping inches of water that closed roads, washed out bridges and even swept away homes.

On Tuesday, John W. Blickley, Schuylkill County Emergency Management Agency 's Operations and Training Officer, distributed an announcement that the U.S. Department of Homeland Security's Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) announced that federal aid has been made available to the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and ordered federal aid to supplement commonwealth and local recovery efforts in the area affected by Tropical Storm Lee beginning on September 3, 2011, and continuing.

The President's action makes federal funding available to affected individuals in Schuylkill County, as well as Adams, Bradford, Columbia, Cumberland, Dauphin, Lancaster, Lebanon, Luzerne, Lycoming, Montour, Northumberland, Perry, Snyder, Sullivan, Susquehanna, Union, Wyoming, and York.

Assistance can include grants for temporary housing and home repairs, low-cost loans to cover uninsured or underinsured property losses, and other programs to help individuals and business owners recover from the effects of the disaster. To apply for help, those in the counties designated for assistance to affected residents and business owners can begin the disaster application process by registering online at www.DisasterAssistance.gov [2]