President Joe Biden has approved Gov. Doug Burgum’s request for a presidential major disaster declaration for a series of storms in early June that caused overland flooding and produced damaging winds and hail, resulting in more than $2.3 million in damage to roads and other infrastructure.
The declaration covers eight counties: Burke, Divide, Emmons, Grant, Kidder, LaMoure, Sioux and Williams. A copy of Burgum’s letter to the president and Federal Emergency Management Agency requesting the disaster declaration can be viewed here.
The presidential declaration unlocks FEMA public assistance to help cities, counties and townships pay for the costs of repairing roads and other infrastructure. Preliminary assessments indicate damage is expected to exceed $2.33 million.
The June 7-11 storms produced tornadoes, up to baseball-size hail, damaging winds of up to 93 miles per hour and torrential rainfall that led to overland flooding, which was exacerbated by dried-out, nearly impermeable topsoil.
“This declaration will provide critical relief to local governments that incurred substantial costs from the damaging June storms,” Burgum said. “We appreciate President Biden and FEMA granting our request and making assistance available as our local jurisdictions continue to recover from the impacts of this severe weather event.”
Burgum noted the impacts occurred at a time when North Dakota is experiencing one of the worst droughts on record, and when the state already has six open presidential disasters totaling over $150 million in costs for which local and tribal jurisdictions are struggling to meet their cost shares. The June storms caused extensive damage to homes and businesses, damaged roads and bridges, and snapped power poles and downed power lines, cutting off service to several communities.
In response to the June 7-11 storms, Burgum issued an executive order mobilizing state resources and ensuring a coordinated approach to the needs of citizens and their communities.
The federal government also granted the governor’s request for the Hazard Mitigation Grant Program to be implemented on a statewide basis to help communities pay for projects that increase resiliency and reduce costs in the long term.