N.D. Gov. Requests Federal Disaster Declaration for Snow Storm Recovery

North Dakota Gov. John Hoeven has requested President Bush declare a federal disaster for impacts resulting from the record-breaking early snow storm that moved through portions of North Dakota on Oct. 4-6, causing power outages, stranding hundreds of motorists, damaging transportation and power infrastructure and isolating rural residents.

“State, local, tribal and private resources pulled together quickly to activate search and rescue missions and restore vital services to communities affected by this severe early winter weather,” Hoeven said. “Assistance to help these resources recover their losses is essential to their continued ability to safeguard the well-being of every community.”

Jurisdictions included in the emergency declaration request are Three Affiliated Tribes of the Fort Berthold Indian Reservation, Benson, Billings, Bottineau, Bowman, Burke, Dunn, Golden Valley, McHenry, McKenzie, McLean, Mercer, Oliver, Pierce, Renville, Rolette, Sheridan, Stark, Towner and Ward counties.

Additionally, 11 counties meet the criteria established by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) “for near record snowfall” and may be eligible for assistance. Those counties include Billings, Bowman, Burke, Dunn, Golden Valley, McKenzie, Morton, Mountrail, Stark, Ward and Williams. Nine additional counties meet the criteria of the snow policy for emergency snow removal. Those counties include Bottineau, Divide, Grant, Hettinger, Mercer, Pierce, Renville, Rolette and Slope. Their eligibility will be based on snow of record information, which the National Weather Service (NWS) is currently compiling.

The request follows Preliminary Damage Assessments (PDAs) conducted in partnership with local, tribal, state and federal officials to assess damages to public, private and governmental properties.

“The state continues to work closely with federal, local and tribal officials to document damages sustained during this severe storm and record snowfall,” said Susan Reinertson, N.D. Division of Homeland Security Director. “An initial estimate of damage, compiled by these teams, shows losses of more than $2.2 million.”

Heavy snow and ice accumulations combined with extreme wind conditions, continuous blockages and road closures and damage to homes, businesses and electrical infrastructure severely affected public health and safety, as well as economic and environmental interests in the impacted areas.