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Va., Md. and D.C. can apply for aid for two storms at once

After two recent snowstorms closed the federal government and schools across the region, people began digging out. The season's snow tally in D.C. reached 55.6 inches Wednesday -- more than the last record of 54.4 inches, set in 1898-99.

House Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer (D-Md.) later issued a statement saying he also had received assurances from Napolitano, who oversees the Federal Emergency Management Agency, that FEMA would consider the two storms as one and that requests for federal aid would be processed promptly. Hoyer said he also would support efforts by the D.C. government to apply for a disaster declaration.

Fugate, the administrator of FEMA, said that because jurisdictions slammed by last weekend's storm were still digging out when Wednesday's hit, it would be difficult to determine which storm was responsible for costs such as removing downed trees.

"We're going to have to factor that in," Fugate said. "It's going to be difficult to separate costs." He acknowledged the extraordinary impact on the District, Virginia and Maryland, but said decisions about whether jurisdictions can count both storms as one would be made case by case.

In a statement, Napolitano said she also had spoken with the governors of Delaware and West Virginia.

"This is a team effort and we will continue to work with our partners as the storm develops and the recovery process begins," she said.

Staff writers Tim Craig, Rosalind Helderman, Anita Kumar and Nikita Stewart contributed to this report.

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