President Obama today signed a disaster declaration today, ordering federal aid to supplement state and local recovery efforts in the southern Minnesota counties affected by a severe winter storm in early April.

Federal funding will be available to state and local governments and some nonprofit organizations in Cottonwood, Jackson, Murray, Nobles and Rock counties for emergency work and the repair of replacement of facilities damaged by the spring snow and ice storm that hit that region of the state during the second week of April.

According to a Federal Emergency Management Agency estimate, the storm caused more than $26 million in damages.

In the storm's aftermath, U.S. Sens. Amy Klobuchar and Al Franken and U.S. Rep. Tim Walz, who represents southern Minnesota, surveyed the damage and met with residents, business owners and government leaders. They sent a letter to the White House last month, urging the president to issue a disaster declaration.

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