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Armstrong County to seek cleanup aid

| Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Officials in Armstrong County will try to get state aid for the cleanup and repairs of damage caused by Sunday's flash floods.

"We want to apply for disaster relief aid, but in order to do so, we have to have information from the affected municipalities to determine if we're eligible," said Randy Brozenick, the county's emergency management director.

Ford City and Manor Township declared states of emergency during the flash floods, which also caused problems in Kittanning, North Buffalo and Cadogan.

Brozenick said his office needs information concerning the number of basements that were pumped out by fire departments, assessments of road and bridge damage, overtime hours for paid workers, and costs for equipment use.

He said the damage amounts and associated cleanup costs will determine if the county is eligible for financial relief from the state and federal governments.

"In Manor Township, 53 basements were pumped out, and one home had a basement wall collapse," Brozenick said.

Damage assessments are continuing in the other communities.

State Department of Transportation workers should have state roads cleared in a few days, said Lee Goehring, maintenance manager of PennDOT District 10.

"Our most-common problem is washed-out road shoulders," Goehring said.

Karen Fair of the Armstrong County Chapter of the American Red Cross said cleanup kits will be given to any county residents who live in flood-affected areas. She said the kits contain a bucket, mop and a cleaning solution designed to attack mold spores and act as a general sanitizer.

Brad Rehak of the National Weather Service, based in Moon, said there is a 30 percent chance of showers through the weekend.

Rehak said any storms this week should follow typical summer weather patterns and be fast-moving. Sunday's storms, he said, stalled over the area and dumped above-normal amounts of rain in a short period of time.

Despite the downpours, rainfall amounts in the region are still below average, said National Weather Service meteorologist Bill Brazl.

So far this month, 3.36 inches of rain has fallen on the region. Normally, 3.57 inches of rain falls around Pittsburgh in June.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association, which tracks soil moisture levels, shows the Pittsburgh area is still drier than average.

That's little comfort to people such as Cadogan supervisor Ron Galinas, who pumped several inches of water out of his basement Sunday.

"I had a hard time falling asleep because I kept thinking, 'I wonder if it's going to rain some more.'"

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