President Obama on Thursday signed a federal disaster declaration for 18 Minnesota counties racked by June storms that left flooded roads, massive debris and the largest electrical outage in the state's history.
Federal disaster aid now will be available to state and local governments for recovery and rebuilding. Some private nonprofit organizations also could get funding.
The severe storms, with straight-line winds and flooding, hit from June 20 to June 26.
The eligible counties are Benton, Big Stone, Douglas, Faribault, Fillmore, Freeborn, Grant, Hennepin, Houston, McLeod, Morrison, Pope, Sibley, Stearns, Stevens, Swift, Traverse and Wilkin.
The Minnesota Department of Public Safety said preliminary assessments determined the storms caused $17.8 million in damage to public infrastructure across the state. State and federal officials estimated that $9 million worth of road and bridge repair and $5 million worth of debris removal will be eligible for federal help.
Gov. Mark Dayton and eight members of Minnesota's congressional delegation — U.S. Sens. Amy Klobuchar and Al Franken, as well as Reps. Collin Peterson, Michele Bachmann, Keith Ellison, Tim Walz, Rick Nolan and Erik Paulsen — had asked for the federal declaration.
Rachel E. Stassen-Berger