Gov. Doug Burgum today requested a presidential major disaster declaration for a severe summer storm that caused flash flooding in several counties and resulted in more than $5 million in damage to roads and other infrastructure.
In a letter today directed to President Donald Trump through the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), Burgum requested that a major disaster be declared for six counties: Benson, Grand Forks, McKenzie, Mountrail, Nelson and Wells.
The June 29-July 1 storm destroyed infrastructure and damaged homes with high winds, hail and 4 to 8 inches of rain in some areas. Burgum noted that many of the counties were also pummeled by previous disasters that produced catastrophic flooding during the last two years.
“In a few short hours, this impactful storm swamped fields and pastures, washed out roads, damaged bridges and railroad tracks, flooded basements, destroyed electrical equipment and knocked out power to thousands of North Dakotans,” Burgum said. “We thank the administration for considering our request for assistance to help communities recover from this storm, the latest in our recent string of natural disasters.”
Over the past two years, North Dakota has received five federal declarations – three of which were for flooding – bringing needed assistance to communities struggling to repair widespread damage to infrastructure. The state also has received two declarations for COVID-19, which has greatly enhanced its capability to address the rapidly evolving impacts of the global pandemic.
In response to the June 29-July 1 storm, Burgum today issued an executive order formally mobilizing state resources and ensuring a coordinated approach to the needs of citizens and their communities in response to the state’s recent pattern of severe summer weather.
If granted, a presidential declaration would unlock FEMA public assistance to help cities, counties and townships pay for the costs of repairing roads and other infrastructure. Preliminary assessments indicate damage to local infrastructure systems exceeded $2.25 million, and damage to the state’s Federal Aid System highways totaled nearly $2.9 million.
In addition to public assistance, Burgum also is asking that the Hazard Mitigation Grant Program be implemented on a statewide basis to help communities pay for projects that increase resiliency and reduce costs in the long run.