Governor Jack Dalrymple on Friday requested a federal disaster declaration to help counties in northwestern North Dakota recover from a severe spring blizzard that caused widespread power outages and major damage to the region’s electrical infrastructure.
“There is a clear need for federal assistance as a result of the powerful storm that left thousands of people without power and caused major structural damage,” Dalrymple said.
The storm, carrying freezing rain, snow and wind gusts of up to 60 miles per hour, struck the region April 29. The storm stranded motorists, uprooted trees, downed about 1,500 utility poles and cut power to an estimated 30,000 customers. A preliminary damage assessment team established at the Governor’s request documented an estimated $6.5 million in damages.
Dalrymple’s request for a disaster declaration includes nine counties and six non-profit rural electric cooperatives, but other jurisdictions could be added. If approved, a presidential disaster declaration would make federal funding available to help counties cover the costs of storm damages and help rural electric cooperatives cover costs to replace utility poles and to repair power lines and other electrical infrastructure.
Counties currently included in the disaster declaration request are: Bottineau, Burke, Divide, Dunn, McKenzie, Mountrail, Renville, Ward and Williams. Also included in the request are the rural electric cooperatives of Burke-Divide, Lower Yellowstone, McKenzie, Mountrail-Williams, North Central, Sheridan and Verendrye.
On May 3, Dalrymple issued an executive order declaring a winter storm emergency and he waived service hours and weight restrictions for commercial truck drivers assisting in the recovery efforts. Dalrymple and Agriculture Commissioner Doug Goehring also are urging livestock producers to document their losses due to the storm and spring flooding. Producers should provide livestock loss documentation to the North Dakota State University Extension Service or the North Dakota Stockmen’s Association.
Source: the office of Governor Dalrymple