PROVIDENCE, RI – In an effort to help flood-stricken residents and communities that were damaged by major flooding in December and January, U.S. Senators Jack Reed and Sheldon Whitehouse and U.S. Representatives Seth Magaziner and Gabe Amo announced that Rhode Island received a disaster declaration from President Joe Biden in the areas affected by a severe storm and flooding from December 17 to December 19, 2023 and January 9 to 13, 2024.  All four members of the delegation sent the President letters urging these two disaster declarations.

This disaster declaration will help ensure appropriate federal assistance is made available to eligible Rhode Islanders who have been negatively impacted by the floods.  The President’s signing of the declarations makes federal funding available to the state and eligible local governments and certain non-profits and to affected individuals in the counties of Kent, Providence, and Washington.

The National Weather Service reported that during December 17 to 19, 2023, 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.

Additionally, starting on January 9, 2024, Rhode Island was impacted by a severe storm system that delivered days worth of heavy rainfall, damaging winds, and widespread, significant flooding across the state.  These rains overwhelmed storm water systems and rivers, submerged cars, closed local and state roads, flooded and forced evacuations from homes and apartment complexes. According to National Weather Service data, much of the state received at least 3 inches of rainfall, with isolated pockets receiving over 5 inches of rainfall.  The Pawcatuck, Pawtuxet, and Blackstone Rivers, three major watersheds, were all in flood stage during the incident.

“These severe flooding incidents wreaked havoc on a number of neighborhoods and communities.  We are grateful to President Biden for signing these two disaster declarations and unlocking millions of dollars to help Rhode Islanders hit hardest by the flooding,” said Reed, Whitehouse, Magaziner, and Amo in a joint statement

According to state and local estimates, the December flooding resulted in nearly $3 million in flood damage and the January storms resulted in about $5.5 million in flood damage.

As a result of the President’s disaster declaration, federal assistance may include grants to reimburse the costs of emergency work and repair or replacement of flood damaged facilities, 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 direct effects of the disaster.

Federal funding is also available on a cost-sharing basis for hazard mitigation measures statewide.

Mr. Robert V. Fogel of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has been appointed to coordinate Federal recovery operations in the affected areas.  Money from FEMA's public assistance program is used to rebuild damaged infrastructure that may include roads, bridges, culverts and other public facilities, or to cover costs of emergency work and debris removal associated with severe weather.

Residents and business owners who sustained losses in the designated areas can begin applying for assistance at, by calling 800-621-FEMA (3362), or by using the FEMA App.