President Declares Chicago a Disaster Area Thanks to the Blizzard of 2011

March 18, 2011

This weekend marks something very important to Chicago: Sunday is the first day of Spring.

Since temperatures have risen above 35 degrees it seems like most Chicago residents have stripped their bodies of winter coats in anticipation of warmer weather.

And, we deserve those warmer temps. This winter was brutal.

Cars stuck on Lake Shore Drive during the snowstorm

This sight on Chicago's Lake Shore Drive is one we hope to never see again. Kiichiro Sato/AP Photo

So brutal that President Barack Obama has declared much of the state of Illinois a federal disaster area due to the blizzard that froze the Chicago area from January 31 through February 3, 2011.

According to Governor Pat Quinn, state and local governments spent more than $64 million shoveling Illinois residents out of the snow.

Chicago alone spent more than $37 million digging out of the third-largest snowstorm in the city’s history.

Because of Obama’s declaration, certain state and local governments can now be reimbursed for 75 percent of their storm-related expenses.

Here is the lowdown on who is covered in Illinois:

Federal funding is available to state and eligible local governments and certain private nonprofit organizations on a cost-sharing basis for emergency work and the repair or replacement of facilities damaged by the snowstorm in the counties of Adams, Bond, Boone, Brown, Bureau, Calhoun, Carroll, Cass, Christian, Clark, Clay, Coles, Cook, Crawford, Cumberland, DeKalb, Douglas, DuPage, Edgar, Effingham, Fayette, Ford, Fulton, Hancock, Henderson, Henry, Jasper, Jo Daviess, Kane, Knox, Lake, LaSalle, Lee, Logan, Marion, Marshall, Mason, McDonough, McHenry, Menard, Mercer, Morgan, Moultrie, Ogle, Peoria, Pike, Putnam, Richland, Rock Island, Schuyler, Scott, Shelby, Stark, Tazewell, Warren, Washington, Whiteside, Will, Winnebago, and Woodford.

In addition, assistance is available to the state and eligible local governments on a cost-sharing basis for emergency protective measures, including snow assistance, for a continuous 48-hour period during or proximate to the incident period in the counties of Bureau, Calhoun, Carroll, Cass, Cook, DeKalb, DuPage, Fulton, Hancock, Henry, Jo Daviess, Kane, Lake, LaSalle, Lee, Logan, Marshall, Mason, McDonough, Mercer, Morgan, Ogle, Peoria, Pike, Putnam, Rock Island, Schuyler, Stark, Tazewell, Warren, Whiteside, Will, Winnebago, and Woodford Counties. This assistance will be provided for a period of 72 hours for Adams, Boone, Brown, Ford, Henderson, Knox, McHenry, Menard, and Scott counties.

Federal funding is also available on a cost-sharing basis for hazard mitigation measures statewide.

For more information on the federal aid program, visit the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s website at

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