The January snowstorm qualified as a major disaster in most New Jersey counties, making them eligible for federal aid to pay for snow removal and the repair or replacement of damaged facilities under a declaration by President Barack Obama.

The storm on January 23 and 24 blanketed the state with two to three feet of snow and wind gusts of more than 50 mph. The high tide in Cape May and Atlantic Counties caused flooding and beach erosion.

Obama made federal funding available to state and eligible local governments and certain private nonprofit organizations on a cost-sharing basis for emergency work and the repair or replacement of facilities damaged by the snowstorm in Atlantic, Bergen, Burlington, Camden, Cape May, Cumberland, Essex, Hudson, Hunterdon, Mercer, Middlesex, Monmouth, Morris, Ocean, Somerset, Union, and Warren counties.

In addition, federal funding is available to the state and eligible local governments on a cost-sharing basis for snow assistance for a continuous 48 hour period during or proximate to the incident period in Bergen, Burlington, Camden, Essex, Hudson, Hunterdon, Mercer, Middlesex, Monmouth, Morris, Ocean, Somerset, Union, and
Warren Counties.

"This is great news. It is extremely important to us in our efforts to rebuild our severely damaged shore protection measures," North Wildwood Mayor Patrick Rosenello, a friend of Gov. Chris Christie who criticized the governor for downplaying the effect of the flooding along the southern coast. Christie ultimately apologized for a comment calling Rosenello a "crazy mayor" after Rosenello said flooding in his area was worse than in Superstorm Sandy.

Christie became visibly frustrated in interviews and public appearances when he was asked about downplaying the storm damage as he headed back to New Hampshire to continue his now-cancelled presidential campaign. In one case, he asked a woman at a town hall, "Want me to go down there with a mop?"

Rosenello said an intermediate fix for the shore protection will cost in excess of $1 million and should be complete by Memorial Day. "A full restoration of our beach will be closer to $10 million depending on how it is done," he said.

FEMA said additional designations may be made at a later date if requested by the state and warranted by the results of further damage assessments.

The application procedure for state and local governments will be explained through meetings at a later date.

Sign up for the WPG Talk Radio 104.1 Newsletter

Get South Jersey news and information e-mailed to you every week.