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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 8, 2001

Governor Issues Disaster Declaration for Entire State Following Severe Winter Storms

SPRINGFIELD -- Governor George H. Ryan today issued a disaster declaration for the entire State of Illinois, following the cumulative effects of severe winter storms last month.

"These winter storms caused extensive road closures, jeopardized the health and safety of the public and exhausted the snow removal resources in some parts of the state," Ryan said. "This declaration paves the way for Illinois to request a Federal Snow Emergency declaration for counties that have experienced record or near-record snowfall."

In the month of December, the Chicago area received a record 41.3 inches of snow. The snowfall, coupled with record low temperatures, made snow removal difficult and forced the closure of many area schools and businesses.

This federal declaration, if approved, provides 75% reimbursement to units of government for costs associated with snow removal, de-icing, salting and sanding roads in counties that qualify with record or near-record snowfall.

The Illinois Emergency Management Agency (IEMA) is reviewing data from the National Weather Service to determine which counties might qualify for federal assistance. The declaration also covers any impact from additional severe weather that could occur through January.

Also, Ryan said his administration is working to ensure that there is an adequate supply of salt for the winter of 2001.

The State has more than one million tons of salt on contract and maintains daily communication with salt vendors to monitor shipments statewide. Through the Joint Purchasing Program, the State is making its contract for salt available to more than one-thousand local governments and municipalities.

"As communities make us aware of their needs we are prioritizing salt shipments directly from the vendors," Ryan added. "We will continue to work with local governments to help them meet their needs."


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