It might have been , but according to the U.S. government, the mammoth blizzard that hit Queens on Dec. 26-27 wasn't considered a disaster — at least, one worthy of extra federal funds.
On Wednesday, Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y. announced a deal that would allow for reimbursement of the city's snow removal costs from the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
“This storm was one of the worst New York City has seen in years, but by expanding the disaster declaration to include snow-removal costs for Queens, we can help make sure hard-pressed New Yorkers don’t have to shoulder these clean-up costs alone," Schumer said in a statement.
The original announcement made last month included assistance for Nassau County and Staten Island, leaving much of the city out in the cold when it came to federal help in paying for the unprecedented snow removal effort in the days and weeks after the storm.
The city originally requested a federal disaster declaration to unlock federal funds to pay for emergency spending for things like overtime, equipment rental and temporary labor in Staten Island, Queens, Brooklyn and The Bronx.
As a result of the December blizzard, as well as a string of significant snow events that followed, the city has spent more than double its $38.9 million budget this winter — with much of those expenditures coming in the form of employee overtime costs.
One outspoken critic of the city's snow removal response during and after the most recent blizzard, Community Board 11 chairman Jerry Iannece, hailed the successful effort led by New York's senior Senator to secure funding for the borough.
"I’m happy that Schumer is going to bat for us to take care of issues that the city should have done," Iannece said. "Quite a few people had to bear the brunt and take care of these issues on their own. Many of them were elderly on fixed incomes, so this would go a long way to help them."