On Thursday, President Barack Obama declared a major disaster for 18 Minnesota counties struck by severe storms and flooding in late June, meaning FEMA will reimburse 75 percent of damage costs.
The storm system began by dropping 5.6 inches of rain in Stevens County on June 20 and ended with an 8.25-inch rainfall in Wilkin County on June 26. Portions of the state saw record amounts of rain falling at a rate of one to two inches per hour, causing flash flooding and mudslides in many places.
In the metro, thousands of trees were uprooted and fell on public buildings and roads. An estimated 600,000 buildings were left without electricity, marking the largest power outage in Minnesota history.
Preliminary damage assessments of public infrastructure across the state put total storm damage at $17.8 million, but communities in the affected counties are now eligible for federal assistance.
The counties affected by the major disaster declaration include:
- Big Stone
Now, counties, cities, townships and some non-profits will be able to submit projects for eligibility during the recovery and rebuilding efforts.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency and the Minnesota Department of Public Safety Homeland Security and Emergency Management division determined the following eligible amounts:
- Debris removal: $5 million
- Emergency protective measures: $1.8 million
Permanent work to repair:
- Roads and bridges: $9 million
- Water control facilities: $1 million
- Utilities: $585,615
- Buildings and equipment: $243,474
- Parks, recreational facilities, and other items: $73,780
The disaster declaration will also fund the Hazard Mitigation Grant Program, which will award assistance to prevent or reduce long-term risk to life and property. All counties in Minnesota are eligible to apply for assistance through that program.