Gov. Jack Dalrymple today announced that the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has approved his request for 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. The Governor sent a letter to FEMA on May 13 requesting the federal disaster declaration.
“This spring’s powerful storm left thousands of people without power and caused major structural damage in western North Dakota,” Dalrymple said. “This federal funding is an important part of the recovery effort by helping counties and rural electric cooperatives cover the costs incurred by the storm’s damage.”
The declaration makes 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. Currently, nine counties and seven non-profit rural electric cooperatives are included in the declaration, with the option that more can be added.
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.
Counties currently included in the disaster declaration 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.
Source: the office of Governor Dalrymple