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Scott seeks disaster declaration for Tampa Bay flooding

Florida Gov. Rick Scott is calling on President Barack Obama to issue a major disaster declaration to help Tampa Bay recover from the deluge that swamped the region earlier this month.

Scott said prolonged rain in late July in and early August resulted in at least $7.5 million in economic disruption for businesses in five counties and resulted another $2.7 million in losses for individuals and homeowners.

Scott specifically states in his letter to President Obama that the state does not need public assistance as of now for such things as debris removal or other emergency measures, but needs "individual assistance" which includes programs to help homeowners, crisis counseling, disaster employment assistance and disaster case management.

During a 10-day stretch that ended Aug. 3, up to 20 inches of rain fell on some parts of the region, swelling rivers, closing roadways and damaging homes and businesses. Scott declared a state of emergency Aug. 6 for five counties hardest hit by the rains: Hillsborough, Pinellas, Pasco, Dixie and Taylor counties.

"Central Florida communities and businesses are working hard to recover from recent flooding, and we must do everything we can to support them," Scott said. "It is our hope that President Obama will move quickly to issue a major disaster declaration in order to free up federal resources in support of recovery and rebuilding efforts."

When President Obama made a disaster declaration in north Florida last year, it released federal assistance for temporary housing and home repairs, low-cost loans to cover uninsured property losses, and other programs to help individuals and business owners recover from the effects of storms that struck Escambia and Santa Rosa counties.