Lawmakers are scrambling to provide some much-needed assistance to Buffalo, N.Y., after the town was hit by one of its worst snowstorms in history.

The bulk of the immediate aid is coming from the state and local levels. Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D-N.Y.) deployed the National Guard and declared a state of emergency in areas hit hardest by the storms.


Those declarations sent 526 state plows, along with 150 soldiers, 5 National Guard Humvees and a slew of other resources into Buffalo.

But the federal government can play an important role too if the administration decides to make a federal disaster declaration. That declaration would activate federal programs that help provide financial aid to help Buffalo and its residents recover from the historic storm.

Cuomo must formally request the declaration before President Obama acts. His office did not return a request for comment, but he said during a media briefing Friday that he’s spoken to the White House and that Buffalo could qualify for federal aid.

The total cost would have to meet a federal threshold, which Cuomo said should be between $23 million and $27 million.

New York lawmakers have asked the government to move quickly once any request comes, but have also cautioned that it may be too early to know what residents will need to recover.

Buffalo-area Rep. Chris Collins (R-N.Y.) said in a statement that “we need to fully understand the scope and magnitude of the storm” before asking for federal aid.

“The total scope has not yet come clear,” he said, praising emergency personnel.

“I am closely monitoring the situation and will urge swift federal action when there is a full grasp of the damage.”

The impact of the storms on Buffalo is monumental. The Weather Channel reports that parts of the city had more than seven feet of snow over just a few days. As of Friday, at least 13 people had died in the city.

While the snowfalls are coming to an end, Buffalo residents are far from finished worrying. Warm and wet weather is expected to hit the region this weekend, which could lead to massive floods and collapsing roofs after the snow on top absorbs the rainwater.

With Congress on a Thanksgiving-week recess, Buffalo-area Reps. Collins and Brian Higgins (D-N.Y) are back in their districts and have been meeting with local leaders. The two also joined with New York Democratic Sens. Chuck SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerGetting serious about infrastructure Schumer calls on McConnell to hold vote on Equality Act 'SleepyCreepy Joe' and 'Crazy Bernie': Trump seeks to define 2020 Dems with insults MORE and Kirsten GillibrandKirsten Elizabeth GillibrandOvernight Health Care — Presented by Campaign for Accountability — Momentum builds for federal laws enshrining abortion rights | Missouri lawmakers approve bill banning abortions at 8 weeks | Warren unveils plan to protect abortion rights 2020 Dem Seth Moulton calls for expanding cannabis access for veterans Momentum builds behind push to pass laws enshrining abortion rights MORE in lobbying the Department of Agriculture and the Federal Emergency Management Agency to support federal disaster aid if a request is made.

“Without support of this disaster declaration,” the lawmakers wrote, “the state will have an even more difficult time recovering from the constant impact of a recent string of disasters.”

“The state has yet to fully recover from Hurricane Irene, Tropical Storm Lee and Superstorm Sandy, and we believe that federal assistance is necessary to preserve the safety of our citizens and to protect our infrastructure from future disasters.”

A spokesman for Schumer added that he spoke with the White House Thursday to ask for a quick approval for any eventual federal disaster declaration request. And Gillibrand’s spokesman said that she’s headed to the area on Monday.

This story was updated at 6:53 p.m.