A disastrous year for states

As Congress continues to bicker over funding for the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the nation is on track for a record year for major disaster declarations. And counting all forms of emergency aid, only two states have not had a declaration of some kind in 2011, Mark Memmott notes at NPR.

FEMA lists three types of declarations—for “major disasters,” for “emergencies,” and for “fire management assistance.” Only South Carolina and Michigan have so far escaped calamities worthy of one of those.

Irene was a twofer for Connecticut and many other states–an emergency declaration as the hurricane approached, and a major disaster declaration once it passed, even though it had been downgraded to a tropical storm by the time it hit New England. Connecticut also was declared a disaster area following a snowstorm in January.

In all, Connecticut has been the subject of 16 major disaster declarations since 1953, the first year for which FEMA has records posted.

Back in 1953, only 13 disaster declarations were issued for the entire country, and the number didn’t top 30 until 1972. It has increased steadily over the years, reaching 81 in 2010 and 81 for 2011 to date–with 3 1/2 months to go.