Gov. Mark Dayton has declared a state of emergency in more than two dozen Minnesota counties raked by storms, flash floods and massive power outages last month.
The June storms downed power lines, toppled trees, sucked chunks of roadway down sinkholes and pushed rivers over their banks across the state. More than half a million customers lost power around the Twin Cities in the immediate aftermath of the storms, and communities and homeowners are still digging out from the mess.
Wednesday’s executive order declares a state of peacetime emergency in Hennepin, Ramsey and 24 other counties — a quarter of the state. The declaration is part of the process that will allow the state to call for federal disaster assistance in the areas hit hardest by the storms that swept through between June 20 and June 26.
Minnesota officials have already asked the Federal Emergency Management Agency to conduct damage assessments in the affected counties. The federal government will not step in until the cost of cleanup from a disaster tops $7.26 million, but state officials expect Minnesota’s cleanup costs to top that figure.
This is the second emergency declaration in recent months. On May 3, President Obama declared a major disaster in five Minnesota counties — Cottonwood, Jackson, Murray, Nobles and Rock — hit hard by severe winter storms in April.