President Barack Obama today approved Gov. Brad Henry’s request and declared an emergency exists in Oklahoma because of this week’s severe winter storm. His order clears the way for federal aid to help cover some of the costs incurred by state and local response efforts in areas struck by the storm that began Thursday. The order covers all 77 counties. Obama approved Oklahoma’s request quickly, taking less than 24 hours. “We appreciate the president’s speedy response to our request for federal aid and we will continue to stay in close touch with the White House and federal authorities as we recover from the winter storm,” Henry said today. “Many Oklahoma communities have been hard hit by this latest round of winter weather and we will be doing everything possible help them in the days and weeks to come.” The president's action authorizes the Homeland Security Department and the Federal Emergency Management Agency to coordinate all disaster relief efforts which have the purpose of alleviating the hardship and suffering caused by the storm, according to a statement from the White House. It also allows federal assistance for required emergency measures. FEMA is authorized to identify, mobilize and provide at its discretion equipment and resources necessary to deal with damage caused by the storm. The federal government will provide 75 percent reimbursement for eligible expenses. The federal assistance allows state and local governments to be reimbursed for expenses associated with responding to the storm. Eligible expenses could include personnel overtime costs as well as costs associated with operating shelters and clearing snow- and ice-covered roads. The declaration covers the use of industrial-size generators and bottled water, which were secured through a federal agency. After damage assessment teams survey the affected area, additional federal assistance may be requested to aid local and state government recovery efforts.