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Snowplows clear the roads around Buffalo, N.Y., after the November 2014 storm.

Many residents of upstate New York spent the 2014 Thanksgiving holiday digging out from a record-setting winter storm, followed by severe flooding.

As a result, on Dec. 22, President Obama declared certain counties in the state disaster areas, providing state, local and tribal governments as well as residents and businesses with an early Christmas present. In addition to helping the state of New York pay for storm-related damage to infrastructure, the declaration may help individuals and businesses recover from losses beyond the amounts their insurance policies cover.

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