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Clinton Declares Fla. Disaster Area

October 3, 2000

MIAMI (AP) _ President Clinton on Tuesday declared a major disaster area exists in a nine-county area of Florida, which was hit last month by heavy rain from Tropical Storm Helene.

The president issued the declaration during a fund-raising trip to South Florida where a downpour from another storm grounded his plane, preventing him from attending a fund-raiser for Democratic congressional candidates at Jupiter Island, Fla.

Clinton lingered on board Air Force One for nearly a half-hour before deciding to cancel his appearance, said White House spokesman Jake Siewert. He returned to his hotel and planned to address the fundraiser via telephone, Siewert said.

``The weather makes it very difficult,″ Siewert said. ``We’d only tie up a lot of traffic when the weather already is really bad.″

The declaration makes federal funding available to local governments in Bay, Calhoun, Escambia, Franklin, Gulf, Jefferson, Leon, Okaloosa and Wakulla counties. The federal aid can be used to repair or replace public buildings damaged by the tropical storm.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency is continuing to survey damage in other areas to determine if they also are eligible for federal disaster aid.

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