CHICAGO (CBS) — President Obama has signed a disaster declaration for 11 counties in northeastern Illinois, including the entire Chicago metropolitan area. WBBM’s Bob Roberts says it opens the door for homeowners and businesses to seek disaster assistance.

The president acted within a day of receiving the state’s request and Governor Quinn says that after viewing the floodwaters, he is not the least bit surprised.

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“It looked like Noah had come back with the flood. It flooded so many different parts of not only northeastern Illinois but other parts of Illinois,” said Quinn.

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The declaration covers those effected by between April 16 and May 5 by the severe storms and winds.

The application process online or by toll-free hotline begins immediately. The grants cover temporary housing and home repairs and low interest loans for uninsured property losses.

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Quinn says at least 41 homes were destroyed and another 761 sustained major damage.