Officials Start to Assess Storm Damage in Minnesota

June 23, 2010

Teams of local, state and federal officials are beginning to tour parts of Minnesota to assess the damage left behind by last week’s tornadoes.

The teams planned to conduct preliminary damage assessments in seven counties.

The preliminary assessments will give a sense of the scope of the damage, and help Gov. Tim Pawlenty determine whether he’ll request a major disaster declaration from President Barack Obama.

Officials from the state’s division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the U.S. Small Business Administration, and local officials will take part in the tour.

The teams will visit Faribault, Freeborn, Olmstead, Otter Tail, Polk, Steele and Wadena counties.

The series of storms that hit the state on June 17 killed three people and injured dozens more.

Authorities say a warning siren failed in Eagle, Minn., before an apparent tornado touched down, damaging or destroying 20 homes and injuring one person.

Eagle Fire Chief Justin Heim said at a news conference that all village residents have been accounted for following door-to-door searches.

Residents were urged to stay out of the area because downed power lines had not been de-energized.

Some 48,000 We Energies customers lost power in the storm that moved through Waukesha, Walworth and Jefferson counties. Utility spokesman Rick White says about 14,000 were still without service as more than 160 utility employees worked overnight.

Waukesha County Sheriff Dan Trawicki says there were some reports of looting.

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