Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald declared a countywide disaster emergency on Tuesday.
According to a release, the declaration would enable county and municipal governments to continue responding effectively to the impact of precipitation in the county.
Municipalities and businesses within the county have been impacted by flood damage, river ice jams, continuous landslides, utility damages including exposed wires and downed poles, major interruptions to transportation systems and, in severe cases, the destruction of homes and properties, the release said.
“The declaration itself provides some opportunities for better coordination among not only the county, but all the municipalities we serve,” said Matt Brown, head of county emergency management.
11 Investigates found that, this year alone, PennDOT has responded to 45 landslides in Allegheny County. At least 55 people in 19 Allegheny County communities have been impacted or could be impacted by landslides and flooding.
County officials have been busy for months assessing damage and monitoring areas that have the potential for landslides.
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Brown says he's never seen anything like this.
“Nor have I seen such an extreme cycle of weather for such a prolonged amount of time,” he said.
County officials noted most home insurance doesn’t cover landslides, to they’ll try to get FEMA involved to helped affected home and business owners.
Many cities and municipalities within the county have already exhausted their budgets related to storm, rain, flooding damages and landslide responses, according to the release.
“While Emergency Services and our emergency responders continue to do everything in their power to minimize the impacts that we’ve seen, we also want to be certain that they have everything that they need to help our municipalities and residents," Fitzgerald said.
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