Representatives from the Federal Emergency Management Agency and Homeland Security and Emergency Management meet with representatives throughout the county Tuesday to find out about damages they received during heavy storms in June. – Sarah Stultz/Albert Lea Tribune
Representatives from the Federal Emergency Management Agency and Homeland Security and Emergency Management meet with representatives throughout the county Tuesday to find out about damages they received during heavy storms in June. – Sarah Stultz/Albert Lea Tribune

Archived Story

FEMA, state officials hear about local storm damage

Published 10:15am Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Expense estimates continue to rise from storms in June

County, city and township officials from Freeborn County on Tuesday presented their estimated damages from the severe storms in June.

Representatives from the state Homeland Security and Emergency Management division and the Federal Emergency Management Agency were on hand to hear the estimates.

Chad Ostlund, community recovery coordinator for Homeland Security and Emergency Management, right, talks with Al Hunnicutt of Freeborn Township on Tuesday at the Freeborn County shop. – Sarah Stultz/Albert Lea Tribune
Chad Ostlund, community recovery coordinator for Homeland Security and Emergency Management, right, talks with Al Hunnicutt of Freeborn Township on Tuesday at the Freeborn County shop. – Sarah Stultz/Albert Lea Tribune

Wayne Lamoreaux, public assistance engineer for the state Homeland Security and Emergency Management, said he heard several reports of flooded gravel roads, which raises transportation concerns for townships and other entities.

The teams are traveling around the state to compile the costs of damages for all of the counties affected by the severe storms beginning June 11.

City Engineer Steven Jahnke said he turned in an estimated $107,000 in damages and costs for city employees to work during the storms.

Albert Lea received more than 7 inches of rain from the storms, leading to high water levels in both Fountain and Albert Lea lakes, closed streets, some homes with sewage backups and farmland that was under water.

Jahnke said out of that $107,000 estimate, about $7,000 was from three light poles that were damaged in high winds. There was also $10,000 for filling any voids that might be around the Fountain Lake dam.

The city also turned in a request to repair part of the channel between Albert Lea and Fountain lakes that was damaged.

Freeborn County drainage inspector Winston Beiser said two weeks ago his estimate of the damage to the county’s ditches and ditch crossings was $200,000, but that estimate has already doubled and is expected to continue upward. He said it will take several weeks to inspect all of the ditches.

Donald Helgeson, emergency management program specialist with FEMA, in stripes, meets with Scott Murphy and Curt Honsey of Nunda Township on Tuesday to talk about damage from storms in June. – Sarah Stultz/Albert Lea Tribune
Donald Helgeson, emergency management program specialist with FEMA, in stripes, meets with Scott Murphy and Curt Honsey of Nunda Township on Tuesday to talk about damage from storms in June. – Sarah Stultz/Albert Lea Tribune

Last year, the county turned in just shy of $1 million in claims for ditches and ditch crossings.

This year, Beiser said, the damage has been in the center of the county, particularly in Hayward, Manchester, Hartland and Clarks Grove.

The preliminary damage assessment is the first step in determining if Gov. Mark Dayton will make a request for a presidential disaster declaration. The program includes assistance to local communities for the cost of response and eligible repairs to public infrastructure.

If the damage exceeds the federally determined damage threshold of $7.3 million statewide, the process continues.

Freeborn County was one of 35 counties included in a state of emergency given by Dayton after the storms.

FEMA teams were also assessing damages on Tuesday in Chippewa, Murray, Pipestone, Carver and Scott counties.

Nixon