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Paterson seeks federal funds for LI after December storm

While Long Island braces for moderate snowfall tomorrow, Gov. David A. Paterson is asking Washington to help Nassau and Suffolk pay for damages and services after a December storm left more than 2 feet of snow.

"The threat posed to the public by the blizzard required the immediate and sustained efforts of all snow removal equipment available throughout the New York City metropolitan region," Paterson said in a statement. "The efforts to remove the widespread deep and drifting snow have devastated local and state budgets."

President Barack Obama had already approved federal disaster assistance for Long Island because of the damages that its beaches and power utilities suffered during a Nov. 12 nor'easter, Paterson said in the statement.

Meteorologists said the December storm yielded up to 27 inches of snow in Nassau and Suffolk, prompting both counties to declare a state of emergency. Rescue efforts, snow removal, sanding, clearing the roadways of debris and other services taxed the counties to the limit.

Paterson's request aims to tap into the Public Assistance program of the Federal Emergency Management Agency. He also asked to activate the Hazard Mitigation program, which would help curb repeated losses.

The funding plea was welcome by both county leaders.

"We appreciate the governor's support for this needed revenue, since this historic storm far exceeded our reserves," said Suffolk County Executive Steve Levy, just before he delivered his State of the County address Wednesday.

Nassau officials were also pleased. "The relief sought by Gov. Paterson is very welcome by Nassau County," said Michael Martino, a spokesman for Mangano. "He has our pledge of cooperation."

The request is being made as Long Island comes in sight of more snow that's expected to hit tomorrow night and come down steadily through Saturday morning.

Forecasters say snowfall totals will depend on the track of the storm. That comes on the heels of light snowfall that caused slippery roads yesterday morning.

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