Minn. Gov. Requests Presidential Disaster Declaration for Flooding in Southern Areas

September 30, 2004

In a letter to President Bush on Wednesday, Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty requested a Presidential Disaster Declaration and Federal assistance for areas of southern Minnesota affected by severe flooding that occurred on Sept. 14 and 15. Preliminary damage estimates are more than $6.3 million.

“The storms that swept through southern Minnesota earlier this month damaged homes, farms and businesses, but didn’t damage the Minnesota spirit,” the Governor said. “The people affected by the flooding have pitched in to help one another. Now, we are asking the Federal government to assist with the enormous costs of recovery. The damage meets the threshold for Federal disaster relief. We’ll be working with FEMA and the White House to get the relief Minnesota needs.”

Included in the Presidential Disaster Declaration request are Mower, Dodge, Faribault, Freeborn and Steele counties.

Massive rainfall earlier this month led to one of the largest flash flood in Minnesota history. In one area, 13 inches of rain fell in a 36-hour period. The Austin area saw the most severe flooding as several creeks leading into the Cedar River reached record crest levels. In Austin, the Cedar’s flood stage is 15 feet and the river crested at nearly 25 feet on Sept. 15. Throughout the region, more than 1,000 homes were affected by the flooding.

When granted, a Presidential Disaster Declaration makes the region eligible for a range of federal disaster programs, including disaster unemployment assistance, individual and household assistance, small business disaster loans, crisis counseling, and low-interest loans for affected farmers.

On Sept. 20, the Governor declared a State of Emergency as a result of the southern Minnesota flooding. Since the flooding occurred, state and local officials have been working with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to assess damage and provide relief.

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