Disaster Declaration Request for 51 Counties; Money Available for Road Damages
Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz is seeking a presidential disaster declaration for spring storms that caused nearly $40 million in damage to infrastructure across Minnesota.
Walz requested the federal aid in a letter Tuesday to President Donald Trump. In the letter, the governor wrote that “The transition from winter to spring in Minnesota was exceptionally difficult this year,” and that the state needs federal help “to recover from this major natural disaster.”
Walz requested the declaration for 51 Minnesota counties and four tribal governments. (FEMA Request)
Officials say flooding, blizzards and strong winds from mid-March to late April caused damage totaling $39 million — well above the $8 million threshold required for a federal declaration. Severe flooding was reported along the state’s major rivers, including the Mississippi, Minnesota, St. Croix and Red rivers. (Dates for damage event are March 12 to April 28.)
The governor wrote that St. Paul shut down eight major roads because of Mississippi River flooding, including some streets that had up to seven feet of water over them. He also said a portable floodwall was installed to protect the St. Paul Downtown Airport.
Ramsey County communities spent nearly $1.2 million on emergency protections, he said. Statewide, that figure rose to $4 million.
Roads and bridges accounted for 39 percent of the state’s verifiable damages, totaling more than $15 million, Walz said. Most of that damage was to township gravel roads that are critical to agricultural, forestry and tourism industries in the affected areas.
And about $14 million is for damage to utilities suffered during the April 10-12 winter storm that toppled about 3,000 power poles and knocked out electric service to 100,000 people. Some Minnesotans were without power for a week. (See summary of eligible public assistance by county.)
If granted by Trump, the declaration would reimburse communities for removing debris as well as repairing and replacing damaged infrastructure. The President is expected to act on the request in the next few weeks.
For Townships: If the President makes a declaration, each township needs to stay in touch with their County Emergency Manager. (Find your County Emergency Manager.) Once the President acts on the Declaration Request, the County Emergency Manager will have a meeting that applicants must attend. Because of the nature of the spring event and the damages involved, FEMA money will be available for township roads damaged by flooding and frost boils.
A majority of this article appeared in the Twins Cities Pioneer Press, May 29, 2019.
Disaster Applicants Guide (Guide is from previous Disaster Declaration, but will not change significantly from this one. There will be a new designation number.)