Damage estimate shows county qualifies as disasterPublished 10:04am Friday, July 12, 2013
City and township officials on Thursday presented their estimated damages from the severe storms that struck Freeborn County at the end of June.
Representatives from the state Homeland Security and Emergency Management division and the Federal Emergency Management Agency were on hand to hear the estimates, which will be added to preliminary damage assessments from 15 other counties.
Though the actual dollar estimate of damage was not available for the county as a whole, it appears Freeborn County has met a threshold for a potential disaster declaration, said Freeborn County Emergency Management Director Rich Hall.
The threshold, based on population, is about $108,000 for the county, said Wayne Lamoreaux, engineering specialist for Homeland Security and Emergency Management. The state must reach a threshold of $7.2 million before Gov. Mark Dayton can request a presidential disaster declaration of President Barack Obama.
“It appears we’re going to be going in that direction,” Lamoreaux said.
The storms, June 20-26, resulted in debris and damage to public infrastructure and utilities, along with flooding to numerous homes. In addition to debris removal and infrastructure costs, Lamoreaux said cities and townships could be reimbursed for extra manpower and emergency measures that were taken to protect the public.
Scott Marpe, chairman of the Nunda Township board, said about half of the township’s 21 miles of roadways were damaged, and some of its culverts will need to be replaced.
Marpe said many ditches were filled with dirt and gravel that was swept off the roadways.
Nordean Krueger of Pickerel Lake Township, said his township also experienced a loss of gravel on roadways.
While the roads — now at least three weeks later — are dry, “they’re not pretty,” he said.
“It’s the worst I’ve ever seen,” Krueger said.
He estimated right under $50,000 in damages for his township alone.
Mark Roche, with the Albert Lea Fire and Inspection Department, said while Albert Lea did not suffer any major infrastructure damages, most of its costs came from extra manpower needed to block streets that were underwater and for pumping water.
Freeborn County Engineer Sue Miller said she estimated between $85,000 and $90,000 in damages for the county’s Highway Department.
Representatives from the offices of U.S. Sens. Al Franken and Amy Klobuchar and 1st District House Rep. Tim Walz were also on hand to hear concerns.
Klobuchar said in a statement that the storms and flash flooding have placed an “economic and financial drain” on communities across southern Minnesota.
“If the governor requests federal assistance, I stand ready to support that request and do everything I can to help these communities get the resources they need to recover quickly,” Franken added.
Lamoreaux said while it is difficult to determine how long it will take before a declaration is determined, he estimated it could be a few weeks to even a month.
Four teams of state and federal officials are out assessing damages this week.