State Seeks Federal Storm Aid

By Don Davis

Minnesota officials want the federal government to help fund recovery efforts from the June 20-26 floods and storms in many parts of the state.

Director Kris Eide of Homeland Security and Emergency Management Tuesday asked the Federal Emergency Management Agency to assess damage next week. If the federal agency agrees, it will decide what counties to visit.

If granted, federal aid would be available to state and local governments, as well as some non-profit organizations, for emergency work and the repair or replacement of disaster-damaged facilities in any counties that are designated disaster areas.

Other aid could be available throughout the state for actions to prevent or reduce long-term risks to life and property from natural hazards.

State officials, who have met with local governments, say the cost to clean up and recover from the storms and floods is more than the $7.26 million federal threshold for aid. Those damages are to public facilities; federal aid is not likely to be available to private landowners.

The Insurance Federation of Minnesota estimates the recent storms could cost governments and the public around $100 million. Total public and private flood damage in one southeastern county alone, Houston, has been estimated at $5.8 million,

The storms downed thousands of trees, creating Xcel Energy’s worst-ever power outage. The outage affected more than half a million Minnesota and western Wisconsin customers.