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NJ Counties Hope for a Federal Disaster Declaration to Get Halloween Storm FEMA Funds

Eleven counties, including Middlesex, are hoping the president will issue a declaration so that towns like Woodbridge can get back some of the money they spent on October's surprise snowstorm

The was a disaster because of the tons of trees, branches, and electrical lines that fell victim to the weight of the heavy early season snowstorm.

Whether it's an official federal disaster, though, is another question.

The cleanup through 11 counties was so massive that Gov. Chris Christie on Tuesday  to declare those counties a disaster area.

If Pres. Barack Obama approves the request, it will mean municipalities like Woodbridge will be partially reimbursed for the expense of the massive cleanup through the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).

The governor declared a state of emergency during the storm, which took the region by surprise. The snow was gone in two days, but not the problems it brought. The weight of the heavy, wet slush on trees that still held their leaves caused branches to crash and trees to topple, taking power lines with it. It took as long as a week for electricity customers in some parts of the state to get their power restored.

Christie's request is , according to Patricia Brach, an information officer with FEMA.

The unexpected snowstorm caused the township to dip into its snowstorm fund very early in the season. Township officials are hoping to get some of that money back to replenish snowstorm money set aside in the budget, according to town spokesman John Hagerty.

Public works employees worked for days to clean up the mess. Hagerty said there are no firm figures for the cost of the cleanup, but he expects preliminary figures to be ready soon.

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