December 21, 2023

RI Delegation Urges Federal Assistance to Help Recover from Storm-Related Flooding

WASHINGTON, DC – As Rhode Island assesses flood damage and begins to recover from a severe storm system that moved through the state earlier this week, U.S. Senators Jack Reed and Sheldon Whitehouse and U.S. Representatives Seth Magaziner and Gabe Amo are urging President Biden to promptly approve any request for federal assistance made by the State of Rhode Island to support emergency operations and accelerate recovery from significant local flooding.

The National Weather Service reported that northern Rhode Island into the Providence area saw the region’s highest rainfall totals, where at least 4.5 inches of rainfall were observed. Local utility providers also reported more than 70,000 power outages as a result of damaging winds.

Governor McKee has declared a state of emergency as a result of the damaging storm.  This step is an essential prerequisite for seeking federal disaster assistance.  The state will now need to assess the cost of the emergency response and damages associated with the storm in order to determine if it meets the minimum thresholds required for a federal emergency or major disaster declaration.   

“This severe storm system wreaked havoc on certain parts of the state, and a number of neighborhoods were hit hard by flooding.  We are committed to doing everything we can to help in the recovery effort.  With the storm behind us, it is now important for the State to work with local leaders, FEMA, and other federal partners to quickly assess the damage and determine what assistance can be provided to help communities, businesses, and homeowners get back on their feet,” said Reed, Whitehouse, Magaziner, and Amo in a joint statement.  

In an effort to help Rhode Island communities and the state respond to storm-related damage and flooding, the state’s Congressional delegation sent a letter urging President Biden to support Rhode Island and expediate any and all emergency assistance.

The full text of the letter follows:

President Joseph R. Biden, Jr.

The White House

1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW

Washington, DC 20006

Dear President Biden:

Over the last two days, Rhode Island has experienced a strong storm with significant rainfall, winds over 60 miles per hour, and localized and coastal flooding. The storm, with heavy rains and damaging winds, caused about 72,000 power outages, necessitated the closure of the Fox Point Hurricane Barrier, overwhelmed storm water systems, closed schools and local businesses, and caused damage and debris to both homes and businesses.

As our local communities work to clean up and assess damage, we urge you to expeditiously approve any request from the State of Rhode Island for federal assistance, including under the Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act.

Thank you for your assistance and leadership.



Chip Unruh (Reed), 202-224-4642

Meaghan McCabe (Whitehouse), 202-224-2921

James Kwon (Magaziner), 202-951-0315                                                  

Matt Rauschenbach (Amo), 202-225-4911

Press Contact

Meaghan McCabe, (202) 224-2921