Minnesota storms declared a federal disaster
Minnesota has received a federal major disaster declaration, clearing the way for relief and recovery assistance in seven counties, including Olmsted, Faribault and Freeborn.
The declaration, approved by President Obama, was announced in the state by Gov. Tim Pawlenty, who requested it in a June 30 letter.
The declaration follows two damaging storms, June 17 and June 25. A preliminary damage estimate reported 842 dwellings impacted by the storms, with expenditures to exceed $35.5 million.
Additional damage surveys are in progress.
The presidential declaration includes two categories of aid: public assistance to state and local governments to repair or replace storm-damaged facilities, and hazard mitigation grants for actions to prevent or reduce long-term risk to life and property from natural hazards.
All counties in the state — not only the seven counties named in the disaster declaration — are eligible to apply for hazard mitigation grants.
The seven counties in the declaration include Otter Tail, Polk, Steele and Wadena, in addition to the three area counties.
Pawlenty had declared a state of emergency on June 18, after the first storm. An emergency executive order called for the Minnesota National Guard to provide public safety assistance to affected local governments.